Updated: October 11, 2021 3:15:25 pm
As soybean acreage has gone past a record two lakh hectares in Gujarat, the state government has decided to procure this oilseed for the first time from farmers at the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 3,950 per quintal. With this, soybean becomes the second oilseed and seventh crop to be procured by the government.
“This will be for the first time that the government is procuring soybean from farmers of Gujarat at MSP,” said a government official.
The Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (GSCSCL), an undertaking of the state government, on Saturday issued an advertisement announcing that the state government will procure green gram, black gram and soybean in Kharif marketing season 2021-’22 at MSP Rs 7,275, Rs 6,300 and Rs 3,950 respectively, fixed by the central government for this season.
“The state government will procure green gram, black gram and soybean at minimum support price through the Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation during the Kharif marketing season 2021-22 to ensure that farmers get remunerative prices for their crops,” the advertisement stated.
Farmers who want to sell their soybean to the government can register on the i-Kisan portal with the help of village computer entrepreneurs of their respective village at the nearest Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC). The registration window will be open from October 11 and till the end of this month.
Agriculture Minister Raghavji Patel confirmed the government decision an said that he would elaborate on the subject on Monday.
Under its price support scheme (PSS), the Central government makes physical procurement of important crops directly from farmers to protect them from price volatility in the open market. Such procurements are generally done through National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (Nafed), the apex cooperative marketing body of the country, as well as through Food Corporation of India Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium and National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Limited.
The government’s decision comes in a year when soybean acreage in the state has seen a 74 per cent jump compared to its normal average sowing area in the past three years. Farmers have sown this oilseed crop in 2.24 lakh hectare (lh), which is 174.19 per cent of the past three years’ average area of 1.28 lh. Last year’s average was 1.49 lh.
The large-scale sowing has made soybean the third-largest oilseed crop in Gujarat this Kharif season followed by groundnut (19.09 lh), castor (6.30 lh) and sesamum seeds (1lh).
Gujarat is fifth in terms of soybean acreage after Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Karnataka. The First Advanced Estimate (FAE) of the state government estimates soybean production in Gujarat to remain around 14 lakh tonnes and under the PSS, the Central government generally procures 25 per cent of total production of a given crop in a given season.
However, sources said that the Central government has not allotted any soybean procurement quota to Gujarat so far. “Recently, the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare sanctioned procurement quota for green gram and black gram. The Central government is also expected to sanction an initial quota for groundnut procurement in Gujarat. However, there is no communication about soybean procurement so far,” said government sources.
Till a few years ago, central Gujarat districts such as Dahod and Arvalli used to be major soybean districts of the state. However, farmers of Suarashtra, especially in districts like Junagadh and Gir Somnath, have turned to soybean cultivation and have overtaken traditional districts. This year, Junagadh district leads the sowing table with 50,700 hectare under soybean cultivation, followed by Arvalli (30,600 ha) and Gir Somnath (25,900).
Overall, eight districts of Saurashtra account for one lh of soybean acreage while eight districts of central Gujarat account for 53,300 ha. Six districts of north Gujarat account for 45,200 ha of soybean acreage while the balance 25,500 has been sown in six districts of south Gujarat, state government data shows.
Soybean prices in the country had crossed Rs 8,000 per quintal in the open market and the state government has plans to open 81 procurement centres across the state.
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