Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Friday denied claims that demonetisation prevented farmers from purchasing seeds.
Some media reports had claimed that a report by the Agriculture Ministry conceded that farmers could not buy seeds due to the cash crunch in the wake of note-ban in November 2016.
There was no ban on use of scrapped currency to buy seeds, the Union minister said, adding statistics show that purchase of seeds increased after demonetisation, compared to the previous year.
“There was no ban on purchase of seeds with the (scrapped) Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. In the year before demonetisation, 308 lakh tonnes of seed was bought by farmers, while it reached 348 lakh tonnes during the year in which demonetisation was implemented,” Mr Singh said at the Agro Vision Exhibition.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who also attended the event, alleged that sugarcane factories in his state were closing down because of the “lackadaisical attitude” of governments in the last 20 years.
“However, I would like to inform you that we have started 119 sugarcane factories this year in Uttar Pradesh and two more will be started this month. We have paid about Rs 40,000 crore in Minimum Support Price (MSP) to sugarcane farmers this year alone,” he said.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari, the promoter of the exhibition, slammed those seeking ban on sugarcane cultivation in Maharashtra on the ground that it consumes too much water.
“Sugarcane is the most viable cash crop. Experts say blithely that grow less sugarcane and reduce the use of water. Then what should we grow? There is no good price for pulses, cotton and rice,” the minister said.