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Farmers allege old measures being recycled by Finance Minister as sops
Members of farming community and veterinary association on Saturday announced displeasure with Union government for not making adequate measures to help the distressed farmers in TN.
“Several COVID relief measures announced by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are already announced in the previous budgets. For example, the foot and mouth livestock vaccination programme announced by the minister as COVID relief programme is an old scheme practised for decades. The livestock and poultry farmers are adversely affected due to lockdown and the centre should provide relief schemes and stop reproducing the ongoing schemes as corona relief programmes,” said Dr M Balaji, coordinator Tamil Nadu Veterinary Graduates Federation.
The farmers particularly those dealing with poultry and cattle are badly hit and are finding it difficult to feed the animals, but there is no relief for such farmers. The Centre can practice the Kerala model where animals are insured by the state and free feed is provided by the local bodies, Balaji said.
“Several small poultry traders are badly hit and are looking out for the funds. Similarly, with the cattle and livestock markets remaining closed at Andhiyur in Erode and Poi in Vellore. The livestock farmers are adversely hit. The state and the centre are yet to respond to issues raised by cattle owners,” said a veterinary medical officer wishing not to be quoted. Due to financial crunch farmers are asking for free medicine and avoiding vaccinations and this will affect the state livestock resources, the official said.
“Both the state and centre announced lock down measures but they failed to think about the farmers and their livelihoods. We are not able to sell our bananas to Kerala and the income through milk has drastically dipped with hotels and restaurants remaining closed in Theni and Virudhunagar,” said K Muthu, a farmer based in Theni. There is a need for the cash in the hands of farmers and there is no clear scheme that will now help the farmer to overcome this loss. Though the farmers were allowed to work, the transportation of vegetables to nearby Kerala is still an issue and this had crippled the economy of Theni farmers depending on the neighbouring state, Muthu added.
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