More than 2 lakh tur growers in Maharashtra have been left in the lurch as the deadline for the procurement of tur under the Price Support System expired on Tuesday. These farmers had registered with either the Maharashtra State Cooperative Marketing Federation or the Vidarbha Cooperative Marketing Federation to sell their produce. But, as the deadline for the procurement is over, they don’t know what to do with their produce.
Tur growers have been facing losses for two consecutive years as the lentil has failed to trade even at the government-declared Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 5,400 per quintal. With no extension in sight, farmers fear that they will have to sell their produce at cheap rates at the wholesale markets.
The state government has, meanwhile, failed to meet the procurement target for tur. Till Monday, Maharashtra had reported procurement of over 3.17 lakh tonnes, way below the target of 4.47 lakh tonnes. The failure to meet the procurement target has resulted in losses worth over Rs 1,000 crore to tur growers in the state. At the wholesale market of Latur, tur has traded between Rs 4,000-4,200 throughout the season. In order to help farmers, NAFED had started procurement of the produce through the two federations, but both agencies have failed to meet their procurement deadline despite being granted an extension of almost a month. Over 4 lakh tur growers from the state have been registered with NAFED.
The state had recorded purchase from over 2 lakh farmers and the total value of the transaction was slated to be around Rs 1,600 crore, of which Rs 950 crore have already been paid to the farmers. Farmers, however, have complained about the slow procurement process, which is further marred by allegations of corruption. One of the major reasons for the slow pace of procurement was the unavailability of godowns to store the produce.
Around 2.2 lakh tonnes of tur still remain in the godowns, with the marketing federation able to dispose of around 40,000 tonnes as daal. Tur growers have started to protest against the stoppage of procurement. In Parbhani, growers threw tur at the local District Deputy Registrar’s office to protest against the stoppage. Manikarao Kadam, Parbhani district president of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna, said of the 17,000 farmers who had enrolled for procurement, only 5,000 were able to sell their produce.