AMID PROTESTS against the new farm laws, and days after it advanced procurement of kharif paddy in Punjab and Haryana, the Centre on Monday cleared early procurement in all the remaining states.
The usual procurement date is October 1. On September 26, the Centre ordered “immediate” procurement in Punjab and Haryana.
The Centre also approved the procurement of 13.77 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of pulses and oilseeds for Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2020-21 for Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Haryana.
In an apparent attempt to allay farmers’ fears that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system may be scrapped, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare also released data on paddy procurement in Punjab and Haryana over the last two days.
“The procurement of paddy during Kharif Marketing Season 2020-21 has just started from September 26, and up to September 27, 5,637 MT having MSP value of Rs 10.53 crore, at MSP of Rs 1,868 per quintal, has been procured from 390 farmers of Haryana and Punjab,” it said.
“The procurement of paddy for the remaining states will commence from 28.09.2020,” the ministry said. “The arrival of Kharif Marketing Season 2020-21 has just begun and the government continues to procure Kharif 2020-21 crops at MSP from farmers as per its existing MSP schemes as done in previous seasons,” it said.
The government fixes the MSP for 22 “mandated agricultural crops” and the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane, based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP). However, it mainly procures paddy, wheat, coarse grains and some amount of pulses.
In the last kharif season (KMS 2019-20), a total of 512 LMT of paddy was procured from 23 states, of which Punjab accounted for 109 LMT, followed by Telangana (73 LMT), Andhra Pradesh (54 LMT), Chhattisgarh (49 LMT), Odisha (47 LMT) and Haryana (43 LMT).
The ministry also approved a proposal for procurement of pulses in several states. “Based on the proposal from the states, approval has been accorded for procurement of 13.77 LMT of pulses and oilseeds for KMS 2020-21for the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Haryana. For the other states/ UTs, approval will also be accorded on receipt of proposal for Kharif pulses and oilseeds, and procurement will be made as per Price Support Scheme (PSS), if the market rates goes below its MSP,” it said.
“Up to 24.09.2020, the government, through its nodal agencies has procured 34.20 MT of moong having MSP value of Rs 25 lakh, benefiting 40 farmers in Tamil Nadu. Similarly, 5,089 MT of copra (the perennial crop) having MSP value of Rs 52.40 crore has been procured, benefiting 3,961 farmers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu against the sanctioned quantity of 95.75 LMT for Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala,” it said.
“The procurement of cotton for the season 2020-21 shall commence from October 1, and the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) will start purchase of FAQ grade cotton from October 1,” it added.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said it would ensure that farmers are facilitated in selling their produce at MSP “expeditiously.”
“The Department of Food & Public Distribution has issued uniform specifications of foodgrains for central pool procurement for the ensuing Kharif Marketing Seasons (KMS) 2020-21,” it said in a statement.
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