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Only 9% farmers sold groundnut at MSP; minister cites ‘higher prices in open markets’

The Gujarat government had begun groundnut procurement from November 9 and as on November 15, only 3602 farmers came forward to sell 6916 metric tonne of their produce which was worth Rs 38.39 crore.

By: Express News Service | Gandhinagar |
November 17, 2021 10:58:08 am
The government is procuring groundnut from 150 centres. (Representational)

Only 3.602 of the 39,374 farmers — nine per cent– who were asked to bring groundnut produce to procurement centres to be sold at Minimum Support Price (MSP) have came forward to do so in the last one week. Cabinet Minister for Agriculture Raghavji Patel Tuesday attributed the trend to “open markets” where farmers were getting higher prices.

The Gujarat government had begun groundnut procurement from November 9 and as on November 15, only 3602 farmers came forward to sell 6916 metric tonne of their produce which was worth Rs 38.39 crore. Though only a week of procurement has passed, SMS alerts were sent to 39,374 farmers who were among the 2,65,558 who had registered online to sell their produce at MSP.

“I am happy to inform that the farmers are getting record prices for groundnut this year. Yesterday, in the Jamnagar Marketing Yard, 20 kilogram of groundnut was sold at Rs 1600 (Rs 8000 per quintal). Similarly, 20 kilogram of cotton was sold at Rs 1700. Farmers have never got such high prices in the past,” Patel said.

The government is procuring groundnut from 150 centres. “Farmers are getting high prices in open market. They are able to get cash for the transactions and low number of farmers are coming to the marketing yards to sell groundnut as per MSP,” he added. The government has declared an MSP of Rs 1,110 per 20 kilogram of groundnut this year.

The situation is no different with other crops that the government is offering MSP.

According to Gujarat government, only 182 farmers registered online for selling green gram, 382 farmers for black gram and 321 farmers for selling soyabean. Till November 15, only one farmer (0.5 metric tonne) came forward to sell green gram, two farmers came to sell black gram (1.3 metric tonne). Gujarat has been the first state to bring an ordinance and allowed private players to open marketing yards to compete with state-run APMCs.

The minister also said that Gujarat government has decided to impose the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities or PASA Act against those found involved in irregularities during the ongoing groundnut procurement. “This is to ensure that no irregularities happen when farmers sell their groundnut, ” he said while interacting with media persons.

Since last few years, glaring irregularities were noticed while procuring groundnut in the state. Any irregularity in procurement this year could end up as a massive loss of face for the BJP government in the run up to assembly elections.

Crop loss compensation

Due to floods caused by heavy rains this monsoon, farmers of four districts of Saurashtra region had suffered crop losses. The government had announced a compensation of Rs 587 crore for farmers from 682 villages of these four districts. “Till date, Rs 155 crore compensation has been distributed to farmers through Direct Benefit Transfer,” the minister said.

Stating that there is no shortage of fertiliser for the ongoing Rabi season, the minister said the state government has demanded adequate quota of fertilisers from the Centre and same has been approved. “For the Rabi season, we had demanded 13.5 lakh tonne of urea from the Centre and we have been allotted 12.5 lakh tonne and an additional 50000 tonne have been kept in buffer stock. Similarly, we had demanded 3 lakh tonne of DAP and we have been allocated 2.5 lakh tonne. A total of 3.85 lakh tonne of NPK was demanded and 2.85 lakh tonne have been allocated,” Patel said.

“If anyone is found involved in irregularities in sale of fertilisers including black marketing, they will be booked under the provisions of Essential Commodities Act that has punishment for seven years,” he added.

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