Come Thursday, 159 centers in the state will start procurement of tur under the price support scheme with the state government aiming to purchase more than 7 lakh quintals of the pulse. However, no decision has been taken regarding procurement of chana, harvesting of which is set to start within a week.
Officials of the Maharashtra Cooperative Marketing Federation said the centers will start operation from Thursday and the process of procurement will start in the next five days. Run under the price support scheme (PSS), these centers will purchase tur at the designated minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 5,450 per quintal. Last year, the state had seen a record purchase of over 77 lakh quintals of tur which so far is the highest such purchase under PSS. However, the purchase was marred by controversy with farmers alleging massive corruption.
This year, farmers have to register online and provide their Aadhaar details to sell their produce in the procurement centers. Maharashtra has reported 12, 28,821 hectares of tur as against the 15,32,976 hectares last year. The reduction in area has failed to boost prices with all mandis reporting below MSP value of trade.
Both farmers and traders expressed concern about lack of clarity regarding procurement of chana. The state has reported a 10-12 per cent increase in chana area and a bumper crop is expected to hit the markets. State government sources indicated that a proposal for procurement of chana has been sent to the central government but a decision is awaited. Chana is trading well below the mandated MSP of Rs 4,400 per quintal in almost all major mandis of the state.
Nitin Kalantri, a trader operating out of Latur’s mandi, said that by mid-March, prices might fall almost Rs 2,000 below MSP. “There will be a glut as farmers will bring in their produce to avail of the scheme. Until and unless the state government opens procurement centers in time, farmers will not be able to get a fair price,” he said.
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