Tur farmers, who had sold their produce at the government-run procurement centres in the state, are yet to receive payments from the procuring agency.
It is estimated that that National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), the central agency, which had directed the procurement operations under the Price Support Scheme (PSS), is yet to release the payment worth Rs 235 crore for the state.
Similarly, the state agencies are waiting for the release of Rs 350 crore to pay gram growers, who had sold their produce at the above centres. In view of the low prices of both tur and gram, both the commodities were trading below their government declared Minimum Support Price (MSP), NAFED had decided to open procurement centres to help farmers with better realizations.
Maharashtra State Cooperative Marketing Federation and the Vidharbha State Cooperative Marketing Federation had acted as sub-agents of NAFED and operated the procurement centres.
During the kharif season, the state was given a procurement target of 4,47 lakh tonne for tur, while Maharashtra was to procure 3 lakh tonne of gram during the rabi season.
Lack of storage space had severally-affected the procurement procedure. The final figures for tur and gram stood at 3.47 lakh tonne and 1 lakh tonne respectively.
The state government had announced a direct subsidy of Rs 1,000 per quintal for farmers, who had failed to sell their gram. Officers of the cooperative department said NAFED has failed to release payment on time and as a result they have not been able to ensure payment to the farmers.
NAFED has started selling tur procured during the season of 2016 and around 16,000 tonne of tur still remains to be sold. NAFED is selling the produce at Rs 36 per kg although the procurement price was much higher. Meanwhile, gram prices have started firming up in the state with the Latur market reporting above MSP sales.
Nitin Kalantri, CEO of Latur-based Kalantry Foods said NAFED should commence sale of gram to take advantage of the better prices. The acreage of tur had decreased after record plantation in 2015-16, but has shown almost normal sowing in the state.
As of July 16, the state has reported 96,9620 hectares of sowing of tur, which was the same last year also. The state normally reports 12.47 lakh hectares of tur plantation during the kharif season. Kalantri, however, was not very optimistic about tur prices crossing the new MSP of Rs 5,675 per quintal in the markets. “Stocks in the country will hamper chances of a price surge,” he said.