BELGAUM, November 27: Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda on Tuesday told the Legislative Council here that the Agriculture Price Commission will be constituted by February next.
Responding to a question from Bharathi Shetty on the delay in establishing the commission as announced in the budget, Mr. Krishna Byre Gowda said that “the government is examining all the aspects involved. We are consulting farmers, their representatives and agriculture economists.”
Mr. Krishna Byre Gowda said that the draft for the formation of the commission is ready and the Cabinet has decided to form a sub-committee to grant more powers to the commission rather than have one bereft of powers.
Ms. Bharathi Shetty expressed concern over the rising cost of inputs for farmers, particularly small and marginal ones, and said if the commission had been established, it could have gone to their rescue.
The Minister said that the commission would evolve a balanced and integrated price structure for agricultural and horticultural commodities for producers as well as consumers. It would help establishing a well-organised marketing system for handling agricultural commodities and create adequate market infrastructure for storage, transportation and efficient processing. The commission would suggest to the government suitable steps when prices of agricultural produce take a dip.
Mahyco to give relief
To another question by Basavaraja Horatti on the losses suffered by farmers due to substandard Kanaka Bt cotton seeds produced by Mahyco in Dharwad, Gadag and Haveri districts, Mr. Krishna Byre Gowda said that a survey is on to ascertain the cause and the extent of damage in these districts as well as in Belgaum district.
The survey, being conducted by teams comprising experts from agriculture universities, seed companies and farmers, would be completed in a fortnight. Thereafter, Mahyco, that produced the cotton seeds, would compensate farmers, the Minister said.
The company, Mr. Krishna Byre Gowda said, initially did not own up the responsibility at a meeting called by the principal secretary of his department.
Thereafter, the Minister intervened and warned the company that it would be blacklisted following which it agreed to compensate the farmers.