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Demand for farm labour jobs may be hit due to crop damage

Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) chief Ashok K Vishandas

New Delhi: The demand for farm labourers as well as their wages may get affected due to a likely adverse impact of recent unseasonal rains on rabi crops, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) chief Ashok K Vishandas said today.

Not only farmers and farm labourers, consumers are also expected to get affected as prices of greeny leaves and some vegetables like potato are expected to increase in coming days because of likely crop damage, said agri-experts.

“The agriculture is dependent on vagaries of monsoon. Whenever there are unseasonal rains and when crops (are) damaged, the demand for labourers goes down and their wages also,” Vishandas said at a FICCI event here.

However, this is a “temporary phenomena” as such weather incidents occur every three-four years.

“Indian agriculture is resilient and will come out of the shocks,” he added.

The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) is a statutory body that advises the government on pricing policy of major farm produces.

Stating that the government is yet to make assessment of crop damage, former CACP chief Ashok Gulati said, “There are various reports of crop damage that varies in the range of 15 to 50 per cent. However, the government has to come out with the exact assessment of crop damage.”

Farmers, who are reeling under price fall, are facing losses due to heavy downpour. “For farmers, ache din have not come. Government has to come forward to compensate,” he said on the sidelines of the event.

Yesterday, during a discussion in Rajya Sabha, members cutting across party lines voiced concern over the loss caused to rabi crops due to unseasonal rains in many states and demanded immediate special relief package for affected farmers and waiving off of the crop loan.

Some members urged the Centre to soon send a team to assess the crop damage and proper implementation of crop insurance scheme besides special initiative to study the impact of climate change on agriculture sector.

Members mentioned that crops such as wheat, potato, mustard seed, gram, mango, orange, grapes and cashew have been affected in states such Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharasthra, Gujarat, Uttarkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.

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