Updated: April 6, 2021 7:30:59 am
Owing to sustained demand by millers and stockists, prices of gram (chana) have marginally recovered at agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) in the state after the mandis reopened a few days ago post the annual year-end shutdown. This comes despite the yards of APMCs getting inundated with the arrival of the commodity in a crop year that has seen farmers sowing the legume in record areas.
The modal price of gram in Gondal and Rajkot APMCs was around Rs 4,550 a quintal on Monday and the rates in these major wholesale markets have remained in this range since the APMCs reopened on Friday. This price, traders say is marginally higher as compared to the levels seen in the week preceding the annual break which had started on March 24. “The price has gone up by around Rs 150 a quintal thanks to sustained demand from millers and stockists in Delhi. Traders of Madhya Pradesh and even Maharashtra are also active in APMCs of Gujarat, thus helping in recovery of the price,” Piyush Movaliya of Movaliya Trading, one the leading gram traders in Gondal APMC said.
Farmers had sown gram in more than eight lakh hectares in Rabi season 2020-21 and the state government estimates the total production to be around 13 lakh metric tonnes. Both the figures are more than double the state’s average.
Despite expectations of a bumper crop, farmers used to get around Rs 4,600 a quintal till early March, with the marketing season of the crop beginning in February. That price was lower than the Rs 5,100 minimum support price (MSP) declared by the Centre. However, farmers are carting their gram to APMC yards as the government has lowered the per farmer procurement quota to just 10 quintals this year instead of the usual 25 quintals.
“We were also apprehensive that prices may go below Rs 4,000 given the huge crop size in the state this year. But that hasn’t happened apparently due to weak crop in Rajasthan, which otherwise caters to the Delhi market and late harvests in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra,” Mukesh Satasiya, president of an association of commission agents operating on Gondal APMC said.
As of Monday evening, the government had procured 60,143 metric tonnes of gram from 62,050 farmers. Data showed that the government had sent SMS alerts to 88,269 farmers to bring their produce to procurement centres.
Procurement at MSP was made from 62,050 while the rest did not respond.
While the government procurement centres are procuring gram from an average of 50 farmers each, APMCs are regulating arrivals of this pulse crop. When the Rajkot APMC opened its gates on Thursday, farmers unloaded 36,000 quintals (10 quintals make a ton) of gram. Gondal also recorded arrivals of more than 10,000 quintals of gram that day. “Traders are not able to clear these volumes on a daily basis and therefore we are forced to regulate the arrivals. Night curfew means labourers don’t work till late evening, slowing down the trade of commodities on APMC yards,” Babulal Tejani, secretary of Rajkot APMC, said.
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