To protest against reported low prices of groundnut,Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) in Junagadh and Gir Somnath districts went on a three-day strike from Monday. However,other marketing yards in Saurashtra refused to join them in the shut-down.
Following the strike called by Vinu Hapani,the chairman of Junagadh and Visavadar APMCs,all of the seven operational marketing yards in Junagadh and Gir Somnath remained closed for the day. Besides Junagadh and Visavadar,there was no activity at AMPCs in Bhesan,Manavadar of the district. Similarly,Kodinar,Una and Veraval yards in Gir Somnath district also remained shut.
Groundnut prices were as high as Rs 1,200 per 20 kg last year. This year,the oilseed is selling at Rs 700 in marketing yards,due to a ban on exporting loose groundnut oil, Hapani said. Farmers are not even getting the minimum support price of Rs 800 declared for the commodity. We demand the Central government to immediately lift the ban on export and start purchasing groundnut through NAFED and GUJCOMASOL, he added.
Junagadh happens to be the largest groundnut-producing district in the state.
Hapani said that out of 29 lakh tonnes of estimated groundnut production in the state,Junagadh district would account for seven lakh tonnes.
Cooperative leaders also submitted a memorandum to Junagadh district collector and sought intervention of state government to lift the prices of this important cash crop.
Hapani also said that the strike would continue till October 30. The yards will observe a holiday on October 31,the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel. This will be followed by a four-day Diwali vacation; meaning that the APMCs would re-open only on November 6.
Incidentally,Hapani had written to his counterparts in Saurashtra 10 days ago seeking support for the strike. But AMPCs in the region remained open on Monday.
We extend in-principle support to the leaders of APMCs in Junagadh. However,respecting demand of the local farmers,we have not joined the strike, Dinesh Bhuva,chairman of Jetpur APMC in Rajkot district,said.
Rajkot AMPC,one of the biggest in the region,also remained open. Due to the festive season and the poor produce in the last season,farmers are in need of money. Out chairman has asked traders,commission agents and staff members not to go on strike, Babulal Tejani,secretary of Rajkot APMC,said.
GUJCOMASOL to buy oilseed after Diwali
Meanwhile,Gujarat State Cooperative Marketing Federation Limited (GUJCOMASOL) said it would start buying groundnut from APMCs in the state from the second week of November.
We shall visit Rajkot,Gondal and Junagadh AMPCs,along with officials of the National Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) to check the quality of groundnut there. We will open around 20 centres in APMCs across the state to purchase groundnut at MSP, chief executive of GUJCOMASOL Manoj Patel said on Monday.