Can harvesting be allowed now, Tomar to find answer

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) The Centre is deliberating on keeping farmers and farming outside the purview of the lockdown amid demands for the shutdown extension, said government sources.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will hold discussions with states' agriculture ministers through video conferencing on Wednesday.

Farmers will be one of the main agenda of the meeting, said sources. Can farmers and farming be kept free from lock-down? Arrangements will be discussed for harvesting of ready crops and purchase of grains.

Much of the yield is ready to be harvested but is left unattended due to the shutdown.

With 70 per cent of rural households dependent primarily on agriculture for their livelihood and about 83.3 crore people living in rural areas, Tomar's response is extremely crucial at a time when the farmers are confined to their homes even as their harvest is left unattended.

It is the beginning of the rabi harvest season. There have also been spells of unseasonal rains destroying a certain part of wheat, mustard and chana crops.

India is under a 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. The shutdown ends on April 14. However, there have been growing demands to extend it, which the government is “considering”, said sources.



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