The Gujarat State Cooperative Marketing Federation Limited (Gujcomasol) will start procuring gram and mustard seeds from May 1.
“Two days ago, the state government directed us to start procurement of chana (gram) and mustard seeds from May 1. Accordingly, we will set up 96 procurement centres for gram and 37 for mustard seeds,” Gujcomasol Chairman Dilip Sanghani told The Indian Express on Wednesday.
The government had initially planned to start the procurement from March, but it was delayed following the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown.
Sanghani said that 1,48,722 farmers have registered with National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) for selling gram and 31,155 for selling their mustard seeds. “Except Kutch, Navsari, Valsad, Dang and Narmada, farmers from the remaining 28 districts of the state have registered themselves for selling gram,” the Gujcomasol chairman said.
The move will come as a relief to several farmers who have not been able to sell their produce as Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in the state were shut down from March 22, during the peak of Rabi marketing season, amid the nationwide lockdown.
Some APMCs reopened from April 16 while a few others resumed operations from April 20.
The central government has fixed Rs 4,875 per quintal as the minimum support price (MSP) for gram in this year’s Rabi marketing season, which is Rs 255 higher than that of the previous season.
The MSP for mustard seed has been fixed at Rs 4,425 which is also higher by Rs 255 compared to that of the previous year.
NAFED has appointed Gujcomasol as the state-level agency for running procurement operations. NAFED, in turn, has been appointed the nodal agency by the central government to make procurements under its price support scheme (PSS) under which the Centre makes physical procurement of a commodity from farmers with an aim to give them remunerative prices.
Gujcomasol usually sets up its procurement centres on yards of APMCs. Under PSS, NAFED usually gets mandate to procure 25 per cent of the total production of a given agricultural commodity in a state.
After wheat, gram had recorded the second highest acreage this Rabi season with farmers planting the pulse crop in 3.78 lakh hectares (lh) in the state – which is 177 per cent higher than the preceding three years’ average, while the acreage for Mustard is 1.72 lh this year.
NAFED officers said that government will also procure some amount of tur (red gram) in the ongoing Rabi marketing season.
“But this procurement will be done not under PSS at MSP but under the price stabilisation fund (PSF). Under the PSF, we procure mostly to cater to the need of the public distribution system,” said an officer.
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