The barter system which represents the exchange of goods or services between two or more parties without using money is what the farmers of Hosadurga demand from banks, ESCOMs and other government offices where money is the only medium of transaction. Fed up with the government’s failure to procure ragi and other millets through a minimum support price (MSP), farmers decided to ‘sell’ their produce through the old system of barter.
The barter system agitation will be started by Hosaduraga farmers in Chitradurga district, where they say they will repay bank loans by handing over agricultural products like Ragi, foxtail millet, bags of Kodo millet to bankers.
Speaking to TNIE, peasant leader Echaghatta Siddaveerappa, who is leading the Ragi supply agitation in Hosadurga, said, “We have called on central and state governments to procure Ragi, foxtail millet, small millet and other agricultural products by supplying MSP. However, the government has announced MSP but they are not ready to buy our agricultural products and our protest for 15 days has come to nothing.”
“As a last resort, we have sent letters to all the banks to take our agricultural products and cancel our agricultural loans because that is the only thing we can repay,” he said.
Responding to a question on the prices of agricultural products, he said that the prices are fixed by the farmers and for each quintal of Ragi the fixed price is 5,000 `, the foxtail millets it is 6,000 and the other millets c is 8,000 `. The bankers must take the agricultural products at these rates and cancel the loans.
He further said that they will deposit the agricultural products in the banks on Friday morning when the banking starts and the commotion starts from Hosadurga. Based on the success of this agitation, it will be extended to other parts of Karnataka.
“Farmers do not want to go into debt. If proper scientific prices are put in place in Karnataka, there will be no surplus production and farmers will opt for diversified crops. However, due to failure of governments successive governments including the current Narendra Modi government in putting in place science-based pricing for agricultural products as recommended by the MS Swaminathan commission, it has become inevitable for farmers to take this extreme step,” he explained. .
“Government, instead of bragging, should immediately accept the scientific agricultural pricing report submitted to Karnataka government by Prakash Kammaradi and bail out distressed farmers,” he added.
Siddaveerappa also said the government should wake up before the farmers’ unrest reaches a higher level.