Agriculture Agriculture Culture Legal Nation Telangana

Centre begins process of turmeric board to arrest farmers hating BJP

New Delhi : Furtherance of strong condemnation by farming fraternity that BJP’s Nizamabad MP D Arvind cheated them coupled with fact that in what has come as music to the ears of turmeric farmers, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry is understood to have begun efforts to transfer the subject of turmeric crop to the Agriculture Ministry from the purview of the National Spices Board.

The decision is expected to benefit farmers in Telangana as it would pave the way for fixing the minimum support price for turmeric. The crop grown in Telangana forms a substantial portion of the total production in the entire country.

The decision might also pay political dividends to the BJP since Nizamabad sitting MP D Arvind won the 2019 Lok Sabha election over K Kavitha after his optics of signing a bond and giving it to a group of farmers that, if elected, he would prevail upon the Centre to set up a turmeric board in Nizamabad. But now even if no board is being set up, bringing turmeric under the purview of the Agriculture Ministry would greatly help the farmers who are denied remunerative prices till now by traders.

In fact, since 2006, farmers have been demanding the constitution of the National Turmeric Board here to address the issues related to farmers and ensure MSP. As an MP, Kavitha tried to earn brownie points with farmers by enlisting the support of several chief ministers to press for the constitution of the bo-ard but it did not materialise.

As the din for turmeric board began increasing the centre had tried to assuage the ruffled feelings of the farmers by setting up a regional office of the Spices Board and increased the allocation of funds for providing necessary and timely advice to farmers on growing turmeric and its marketing. But farmers, who were far from satisfied, kept raising the issue and Arvind cleverly hijacked the demand and inflicted a crushing defeat on Kavitha in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Now, Arvind struck the iron when it was still hot by pressing for at least the transfer of the turmeric subject to the Agriculture Ministry when the Centre began actively pursuing a similar proposal to shift the coffee board to the same ministry.

About 57 crops are under the Spices Board among which turmeric is one. As it has not been recognised as an agricultural crop, the farmers did not get MSP so far, like those who grow other crops. Meanwhile, Nizamabad MLC K Kavitha is trying to keep the issue of the establishment of the National Turmeric Board burning to use it as an electoral plank in the next Assembly elections.