Rabi sowing hit by demonetisation, 'poor' execution by Modi: Sharad Pawar

New Delhi: The ongoing sowing of rabi crop has been affected due to demonetisation as farmers are unable to buy quality seeds and fertiliser amid cash crunch, NCP supremo and former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said on Friday.

Farmers initially supported the government's move, but later they became "unhappy" due to paucity of new notes.

Addressing Ficci's annual general meeting, Pawar said the poor implementation of the move is taking away the intended benefits.

The NCP chief pointed out that there is not enough cash in village co-operative banks on which farmers heavily depend.

 Rabi sowing hit by demonetisation, poor execution by Modi: Sharad Pawar

Sharad Pawar. Reuters

"There is very insufficient currency, money is not available to farmers. The approach of the Government of India, particularly after demonetisation, is something different towards cooperative banks," he said.

"This will definitely impact the rabi sowing. If farmers are not able to purchase quality seeds and fertilizers, it will affect sowing," he noted.

On 8 November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. On farmers' demand, the government later allowed purchase of seeds using old Rs 500 currency from central and state-owned seed companies as well as ICAR and agriculture varsities.

The government has asked fertiliser companies to sell soil nutrients to farmers on a credit basis.

"When the decision was taken on 8 November, within three days, I visited villages and asked people cross section. Initially, their reaction was quite favourable...," Pawar said.

However, he said, "When I visited last week, visited banks and group of farmers standing in queues, there was ultimate difference. A sizeable section of farmers were unhappy."

Former Agriculture Minister said farmers are unhappy also because their realisation has come down due to lack of demand in the wake of currency crisis.

In fact, onion prices, which were ruling at Rs 15-20 per kg at this point last year, have come down to Rs 5-7 per kg.. Farmers are not able to recover their transportation cost, he said.

Pawar said a similar situation is prevailing in perishable commodities like fruits and vegetables.

"I spoke to many farmers. Their reaction was - it was really bad," he added.

Pawar also said that a district co-operative there requires Rs 5 crore a day for the rabi season but they are getting only Rs 1 crore a week.

He said that bad implementation of demonetisation has overshadowed the benefits of the policy.

Updated Date: Dec 16, 2016 15:06:50 IST