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The Farm Bill 2020 and status of Hemp in India

What is a farm bill and why is it important?

The farm bill connects the food on our plates, the farmers and ranchers who produce that food, and the natural resources – our soil, air, and water – that make growing food possible. It is a package of legislation passed roughly once every five years, which has a tremendous impact on farming livelihoods, how food is grown, and what kinds of foods are grown.

Covering programs ranging from crop insurance for farmers to healthy food access for low-income families, from beginning farmer training to support for sustainable farming practices, the farm bill sets the stage for our food and farm systems.

As a leading advocate for family farmers and sustainable agriculture, it’s our job to make sure that this important bill is good for farmers, good for consumers, and good for the natural environment.

Imagine all the likelihood exists however you cannot get pleasure from any of it as a result of people in power once determined the plant named ‘hemp’ and from that, it's all derived includes a despised relative known as "marijuana". If you'll wrap your mind around this dereliction of logic, solely then you can begin to grasp the painfully silly policies.

What are the three farm bills 2020?

Farmers in Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against three ordinances promulgated by the Centre on June 5. The ordinances were replaced by three Bills, passed in the monsoon session of Parliament.


The three farm bills passed by the parliament are –

· The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill

· The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill

· The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.


These bills passed by the Parliament in the recently concluded Monsoon session. Last week, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, an MP of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), one of the BJP’s oldest allies, resigned from the Narendra Modi Cabinet, in protest against the bills. Huge framers' protests were held over the bills, especially in Punjab and Haryana, states that are dubbed as the grain bowl of the country.



These 3 farm bills, which are lapsed the Indian parliament, are expected to make a serious impact on the Indian agriculture sector that employs an oversized part of India's population. Once farm bills passed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the passage of the bills a 'watershed' moment. 


The three farm bills seek to:

· Break the monopoly of government-regulated mandis and allow farmers to sell directly to private buyers.

· Provide a legal framework for farmers to enter into written contracts with companies and produce for them.

· Allow agri-businesses to stock food articles and remove the government’s ability to impose restrictions and arbitrarily.


Why are farmers worried?

While farmers are protesting against all three bills, their objections are mostly against the provisions of the first. And while there is no uniform demand among the protesters or a unified leadership, it emerges that their concerns are mainly about sections relating to “trade area”, “trader”, “dispute resolution” and “market fee” in the first bill.



· Mandis bring in revenue for state governments and this will diminish their relevance.

· Middleman will be affected.

· Farmers fear this will end the minimum support prices regime.

· The lack of bargaining power with big companies is a concern.

A farmer may have the freedom to choose where he wants to sell but may not know to negotiate the best terms with a private company.

As many as 31 farmers’ organisations, which have different ideologies and leanings, are to fight collectively against these Bills, and the first agenda on their common programme is the ‘Punjab Bandh Call’, slated for Friday (September 25).

Are the fears valid?

Bills represent fairly vital changes in promoting regulation and what several were soliciting for flaws within the APMC [Agricultural turn out Market Committee] system.

In the APMC system, licensed middlemen brokered the deal between hemp farmers and therefore the government. Over the years, these middlemen monopolized their authority in APMCs and cartelization occurred. Farmers were usually at the mercy of those middlemen.



Farm bills can provide farmers the liberty to trade across states and empower them to show into traders of their turn out and be control of the method. The intent behind these 3 bills is that the new regulation can produce associate scheme wherever the farmers and traders can get pleasure from the liberty of selection of sale and get of Agri-produce and promote barrier-free lay to rest and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified beneath State Agricultural produce marketing legislations.

The Farm Bill 2020 and legal understanding of Hemp in India

It’s interesting to note that the county’s laws surrounding hemp have been looser than that of America’s for the past few decades.


It seems hard to believe that in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, hemp was a valued product in the American colonies.


For a little bit of background, India’s Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) of 1985 allows state governments the freedom to establish their own policies in terms of commercial cultivation which is, “as long as they provide verifiable scientific and operational evidence that hemp cultivated shall not be diverted for misuse.”


Hemp cultivation could provide much-needed relief as farmers struggle to find markets for millions of bushels of crops during the trade wars. Sadly in India, Hemp is not considered as a mainstream crop.


When other commodities became more commercially useful, hemp fell into disfavor. For example, one of the most common uses of hemp was to make canvas and ropes for ships, but as steam power took over through the end of the 19th century, the need for hemp declined. And then, during the early part of the 20th century, marijuana became illegal.


Re-imagining India’s agriculture


Agriculture in India is at an inflection point. Some problems range everywhere from an overdependence on intensive commercial crops (such as cotton and sugarcane) to socio-economic factors causing people to leave the countryside and move into the cities. In turn, this leaves rural parts of India ultimately unproductive.


Yet, through all the complications hemp can be a solution to India’s agriculture.

Hemp’s ever-growing popularity in India is noteworthy. Nowadays, there’s a demand for organic materials and foods across the world. India is no exception and many have been looking out for hemp’s eco-friendly material.


With hemp’s short cultivation cycle that is less requirement of water and agriculture inputs, combined with the price premium which can be commanded in the marketplace for hemp raw material and hemp finished products, it’s become increasingly evident to farming communities, industry, and the government that hemp is a requirement for the heart of India’s next green revolution.

For the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of organizations that are beginning to work with and trade hemp-based products in industry segments. Despite that, India’s contribution to the global hemp market is currently less than 0.5 percent. We don’t view the upsurge in companies as competition — rather; we choose to view it through the lens of establishing a burgeoning industry.

What do we expect to see shortly?  

With the substantial national interest within the hemp trade, and with the rise of hemp-based products, associate infrastructure can seemingly be required to manage the larger demand for the hemp-derived product. Hemp grown in this country will very possibly be used as a source for emerging industries. Legislations conjointly ought to promote innovative and novel cultivation and growing techniques and strategies.

Hemp has many uses, several of that are need to be discovered or realized driven by explosive growth in hemp-based shopper product, and the worldwide hemp market is anticipated to jump to $10.6 billion by 2025. Many people won’t even know how their lives are affected by cannabis-based products.



Hemp analysis remains vital, there's still a great deal to find out the hemp and its product from industrial and market views. Yes, farmers—legal and illegal—already recognize a great deal concerning this plant, however a lot of will and may be done to form positive that hemp as an associate agricultural commodity remains stable.

Having these rules in place create it doable for alternative agencies and industries, like monetary establishments and crop insurance suppliers, to start establishing their pointers and procedures for managing industrial hemp whereas it's spectacular that the department was able to put along a comprehensive set of laws for a sophisticated issue during a short amount of your time, queries stay concerning in about some aspects of hemp production.

Several agriculture training programs and practices are spreading across farming communities to spread knowledge about hemp. Similar to the guidelines set by the Farm Bill in the U.S., India’s goal is for all hemp grown contains less than 0.3 percent THC.

Conclusion

Even though there are only a few states that have legalized hemp cultivation, a decent starting has been created. Alternative state governments would act to contemplate the subsequent suit. Entrepreneurs should conjointly explore new ways of exploiting this miracle crop.

As hemp activists, we’re always striving to make things better where we are. We at Himalayan Hemp are operating, and still working quickly and expeditiously. We tend to acknowledge many interests and potential this crop has for farmers across the globe. Our work for hemp products supports our public health mission and our commitment to creating sound, science-based policy.