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FARMERS WILL BE GIVEN GOOD DEAL

BJP today promised ensuring 50 per cent profits over the cost of production to farmers and committed not to allow cultivation of GM food crops in the country without full scientific assessment, if it comes to power at the Centre.
It also pledged to reform the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act, revise the existing Public Distribution System as also radically transform Food Corporation of India.
In its 52-page manifesto for 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the saffron party said: "Agriculture is the engine of India's economic growth and the largest employer, and BJP commits highest priority to agricultural growth, increase in farmer's income and rural development."
To achieve farm growth, BJP said it will increase public investment in agriculture, provide cheaper agri-inputs and credit besides bringing in high-yielding seeds and introducing latest technologies for farming. The party said it would also link Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to agriculture.
To improve farmers' income, the BJP said it will take steps to enhance their profitability in agriculture by ensuring a minimum of 50 per cent profits over the cost of production.
BJP will promote horticulture, floriculture, pisciculture, bee-keeping and poultry for generating jobs and income for rural India, the manifesto said.
It will also bring in welfare measures for farmers above 60 years of age, small and marginal farmers and farm labours.
With regard to genetically modified (GM) crops, BJP said, "GM foods will not be allowed without full scientific evaluation on its long-term effects on soil, production and biological impact on consumers."
Currently, only BT cotton is allowed for commercial cultivation in India, while there is moratorium on Bt brinjal due to safety concerns expressed by some groups.
To reduce post-harvest losses, BJP said it will implement and incentivise setting up of food processing industries that has remained just a "plain talk" till now.
"This will lead to better income for farmers and create jobs. We aim to set up 'agro food processing clusters', with high value, export-quality and vacuum packed food processing facilities, etc," the manifesto said.
BJP said it will create cluster-based storage systems for foodgrains and agricultural commodities, set up the 'Organic Farming and Fertiliser Corporation of India' to promote organic farming and fertilisers and explore setting up of regional Kisan TV channels.

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