CIFA asks parties to add 4 key farm issues in poll manifesto

Farmers body CIFA has urged political parties to include in the ongoing election manifesto four key issues - long-term sugar export policy, linking ethanol price to petrol rate, subsidy on agri-machineries and drip irrigation - for the benefit of cane growers.

In a statement, the Consortium of Indian Farmers Association (CIFA) said "there is a need to have a long term and a stable sugar export policy" as this will help improve cash flows of mills, who can pay timely cane arrears.

Sugar production has been encouraging, outstripping demand for the last four years, the statement said adding the production is expected to be surplus next year and hence there should be a long-term export policy.

CIFA also said that in order to safeguard interest of cane farmers, there is a need to link ethanol price to petrol rates under the government's ethanol blending programme.

Ethanol is an important by-product of sugarcane. Under ethanol blending programme, the government has made it mandatory for oil marketing companies to blend 5% ethanol with petrol.

Amid labour shortage affecting the agriculture sector, the farmers body has sought subsidy to buy farm machineries and loan at 4% interest rate to farmers. CIFA also sought 90% subsidy on drip and sprinker irrigation and and encourage this sector.

CIFA, which was set up in 2001, said political parties should incorporate farmers' charter of demands in the ongoing poll manifesto. It also pledged to follow up the implementation of the charter after polls.

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