The farmers also insisted that the government should promote technology by allowing genetically modified crops so that the output increases. They also pointed out at lapses in the crop insurance scheme.
This was an impromptu meeting after Gandhi expressed his desire to meet the local farmers to understand the agrarian issues of the region, said sources.
Eight farmers, including those representing the scheduled tribes, met Gandhi at Jalgaon-Jamod in Buldhana district.
Samadhan Supekar, one of the farmers who met Rahul, said the cost behind the yield of one quintal of soyabean goes up to Rs 4,000 to 5,000. At present, the market rates are at Rs 4,800 to 4,900, the prices had touched a high of Rs 6,000, he said. It is because of the low prices that farmers are starved of funds. Often, they are not able to meet their commitment towards education of their children, medical treatment or other social obligations, he said.
Ambadas Bathe, who also interacted with the Congress leader, said the Bt cotton seed is no longer resistant to the bollworm pest. Earlier, the seed makers would also provide a bag of non-BT seeds in the packet which many have stopped these days.
The non-Bt seeds are meant to be grown along with the BT seeds. It is because the pests would attack the non-BT plants preventing them from getting resistant to the Bt seeds. Newer versions of the genetically modified seeds are available aboard these need to be introduced in India too.
Abhay Marode said he informed Rahul about the hardships faced at the time of claiming the amount under the Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance scheme. The companies dictate their terms and farmers are helpless. Often there is no scope for getting claim because of the low threshold limits fixed for measuring the losses, he said.