An apparent shortage of gunny bags has stalled the functioning of tur procurement centres, and farmers have had to wait for days to sell their produce there. In Hingoli, Congress MP Rajeev Satav has threatened to hit the roads if the procurement centres in his district are not opened soon.
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Arrival of tur and other pulses has significantly increased over the last few weeks as a bumper crop was harvested. Maharashtra has seen a 20 per cent increase in the area and 46 per cent increase in productivity of pulses, especially tur, which has now started reaching the market. In view of the increased arrival, 293 procurement centres have been opened and till date, 17 lakh quintals of tur have been purchased.
Farmers Producer Companies (FPCs) have also started to procure tur and aim to buy 35,000 metric tonnes of the produce. The 135 procurement centres run by the FPCs are expected to close down soon, even as they have restricted their procurement to members.
In Hingoli, MP Satav alleged that NAFED’s procurement centre was ill-prepared to meet the rush. “The centre closed down soon enough and farmers were left nowhere…,” he said.
Satav said he had contacted officials of NAFED, who cited an apparently shortage of gunny bags as the reason. “The officials told me gunny bags will be arriving from Kolkata and they will be opening the centre by Friday, which is unacceptable,” he said.
In order to highlight the problem, Satav has started sit-in agitiations at the market. “If the procurement doesn’t start soon… there will be a law and order issue in Hingoli,” he said. The situation is similar in neighbouring districts of Nanded, Parbhani and Latur, with farmers complaining about long waiting period at the centres.
Manikrao Kadam, Parbhani district president of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghathana, said farmers have to wait for a minimum of 10 days for their turn at the procurement centres. Kadam said the procurement centres have stopped purchases as they have run out of gunny bags.
The situation has worsened because of the sudden increase in arrivals, said senior officials of NAFED. NAFED was given a target of 1.5 lakh tonnes to purchase, which they had targeted to finish by early March. Last week, CM Devendra Fadnavis had requested the Centre to allow for 1 lakh tonne additional procurement, in view of the bumper arrival. Officials said they were hopeful that the processes at the centres will be streamlined by Friday.