With groundnut procurement by the Central government from farmers at minimum support price (MSP) heading towards a close, more than a quarter of farmers who sold their produce to the government were awaiting payment until Monday.
According to the latest data available with the Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (GSCSCL), an undertaking of the state government which is acting as the state-level agency (SLA) for groundnut procurement, only 74 per cent farmers had been paid by the government after procuring their groundnut at MSP of Rs 5,275 per quintal.
According to the data, the Central government had procured 1.92 lakh metric tonnes of groundnut worth Rs 1,012 crore from total of 1,04,171 farmers until Monday morning. However, 27,535 farmers, or around 26 per cent, were waiting to get their payment — Rs 173 crore — against selling their produce to the Centre’s nodal agency National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED).
The largest number of farmers, waiting for their due, are from the Rajkot district. Of the 22,055 farmers who sold groundnut to the government in Rajkot, 9,832 (44%) are yet to get payment. Rajkot is followed by Junagadh where 3,630 (28%) farmers are waiting for their dues to be cleared. Gir Somnath (2,848 farmers, 31%), Devbhumi Dwarka (2,706 farmers, 33%), Amreli, (2,566 farmers, 32%), Aravalli (1,517 farmers, 14%), Morbi (1,489 farmers, 37%) and Sabarkantha (1,369 farmers, 18%), too, have large number of farmers waiting to get their due.
Of the 17 districts, in each of which 500 or more farmers have sold their oilseeds at the MSP, fewer than 75 per cent farmers in six districts — Rajkot, Junagadh, Devbhumi Dwarka, Amreli, Gir Somnath, and Morbi — have received payment. In five other districts (Sabarkantha, Aravalli, Gandhinagar, Kheda, and Surendranagar), between 80 and 89 per cent farmers have been paid while in four (Jamnagar, Banaskantha, Bhavnagar, Mehsana) districts, between 90 and 99 per cent farmers have been paid. Porbandar and Botad are the only districts where all the farmers have been paid after procuring groundnut in significant quantity.
Rajkot leads the chart of farmers — 22,055 — who have availed the benefit of MSP procurement, followed by Junagadh (12,951), Aravalli (9,805), Gir Somnath (9,279), Devbhumi Dwarka (8,186), Amreli (8,021), Sabarkantha (7,956), Surendranagar (4,960), Morbi (4,004), Bhavnagar (3,352) and Banaskantha (3,072).
Jayesh Radadiya, the Minister for Food, Civil Supply and Consumer Affairs, said the government will disburse the payment at the earliest. “It could be delayed due to holidays of Saturday and Sunday, but we are taking updates every day and making efforts so that farmers get paid at the earliest. But the procedure of procuring groundnut from farmers, sending it to godown and getting approved by graders, raising bills, sending them to NAFED, and then getting payment released from the Central government takes some time. There is no dearth fund as the state government also has a revolving fund,” Radadiya told The Indian Express.
The minister said the delay was not to persuade farmers to sell their produce at lower rates in the open market rather. “This is certainly not the reason. Payments are released as soon as the processing of bills is completed,” he said. Last year, some farmers had got payment around two months after their groundnut was procured.
Farmers selling their produce in agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) in the state get payment on the spot after their produce is sold through open auction. However, this year, prices of groundnut had remained marginally higher at the beginning of the marketing season in October-November before coming below the MSP from December.
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