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Goa to allow contract, community farming

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Panaji:  On lines with the Contract farming act introduced by the centre, Goa government is also working on the legislation which will allow the corporates or individuals to tie up with the farmer and cultivate his land.

State Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai said that the process of forming the legislation has already been initiated in association with the State Revenue department.

“The legislation will provide security of land to the farmers, while it will also enable the corporate or individuals to invest in the farming. The basic idea is to get barren lands in the State under cultivation,” Sardesai said.

The minister said that the situation of the farm lands in Goa is different from those in Goa. “The situation in other states is different where the land is already cultivation but the uncertainty of agriculture makes the farmer share the risk with someone. So the corporate entity actually shares the risk of the farmer because of its stronger economic position,” he said.

As far as Goa is concerned, he said, the act will help to bring more lands under cultivation which are currently lying barren due to lack of will of farmers to cultivate them.

“We will have to have a joint effort between agriculture department and revenue department to bring about a contract farming act in the coming assembly session,” he said.

“I have directed my own department to start consultation with the revenue department so as to evolve model contract farming act for goa which will be brought, if possible, in the next session,” the minister said.

Sardesai said that in the contract farming act it is envisaged that the Corporates, individuals or institutions can come and tie up with the farmer and cultivate his land. “The farmer is given a guarantee that this relationship is secured for certain amount of time. The rights of the property remains with the farmers,” he said.

“The government only acts as guarantor. Government guarantees that the agreement between the farmer and the corporate or individual who takes the contract farming is actually honoured by both the parties,” he said.

Sardesai said that the implementation and regulation of Contract Farming Act has to be an “inter-departmental work” as there are certain land issues which are involved due to which the Revenue department comes into the picture.

“When Goa will have its Act,  we will have an authority. We are going based on the model act of the central government. The central act has given more protection to the farmers,” he said.

In order to avoid any issues with the farmers, the Act will make it mandatory for the investor to follow the same cropping pattern.  “Even if they want to change the pattern it wont work as the micro climatic conditions wont allow it,” he said.

Sardesai further said that in Goa, the contract farming act is not the solution. “We have disjointed holdings so that we have to couple the contract farming with community farming. The state government will help in encouraging the community farming,” he said.

“In Goa, if the intention of government  to bring land more under cultivation then community and contract farming has to go hand in hand,” he added.

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