March 9, 2021 3:50:07 am
The centre on Monday started procuring gram (chickpea) or chana at the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 5,100 a quintal from farmers in Gujarat on Monday even as agricultural produce market committee (APMC) yards in Saurashtra are flooded with the pulse crop, with a bumper harvest this year.
The Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (GSCSCL), a Gujarat government undertaking which has been appointed state level agency (SLA) by National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed) for running procurement operations in Gujarat, opened procurement centres in 16 districts of the state on Monday. The SLA sent SMS alerts to 2596 farmers to cart their produce to government procurement centres on the opening day of the operations.
Nafed, the apex cooperative marketing body of the country, has, in turn, been appointed nodal agency by the Central government to make physical procurement of farmers’ produce under its price support scheme. Besides gram, the Centre has announced that it will procure mustard and wheat also from Gujarat.
The districts where gram procurement centres have been opened include Rajkot, Amreli, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Devbhumi Dwarka, Gir Somnath, Porbanar, Morbi and Botad in Saurashtra region; Patan, Sabarkantha, Mehsana and Aravalli in north Gujarat; Anand and Kheda in central Gujarat and Bharuch in south Gujarat, officers of GSCSCL said.
The procurement operations start amid farmers flooding APMC mandis in the state with their freshly harvested gram as prices are hovering around Rs4500 per quintal, lower than this year’s government fixed MSP but higher as compared last year’s market price of around Rs4250.
Farmers had sown gram in 8.19 lakh hectare (lh) in Gujarat in the Rabi season 2020-21, more than double the previous year’s 3.78 lh and around 293 per cent of the previous three years’ average of 2.91 lh. The pulse crop had emerged the second largest crop in the state after wheat (13.66 lt) even as the state recorded sowing of Rabi crops in 46.15 lh, 32.24 per cent higher than average. With the increase in cultivation area, the production is also expected to double as compared to the previous season and is estimated to remain 13 lakh tonnes (lt) as per the Second Advanced Estimate of the state government.
This year, as many as 3.81 lakh farmers have got themselves registered for selling their gram to the government at MSP, data available with GSCSCL shows. This is almost two-time higher than 1.48 lakh farmers who had got themselves registered to sell their produce at MSP. However, due to Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, the government procurement had started late and eventually only 1.22 lt gram was procured from Gujarat in Rabi marketing season 2020-21
But the Centre has approved quota of Rs 2.47 lt procurement from Gujarat for the Rabi marketing season 2021-22, GSCSCL officers said.
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