Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Saturday expressed concern over the process of grading and procuring farm produce across the state and blamed grading officers for not doing their job in the correct manner. Speaking to the media after a meeting with state Agriculture Minister Pandurang Phundkar, he said: “Procurement of farm produce, especially moong daal (green gram), urad daal (black gram) and soybean, from the farmers is not happening in the way it should. The grading officers are not grading the quality of produce in the correct manner. I have appealed to the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) to select grading officers from their all India panel. They must be appointed as grading officers to make this process transparent.”
Farmers were forced to sell their produce at rates lower than the minimum support price (MSP) this year. While the MSP of moong, urad and soybean are Rs 5,400, Rs 5,150 and Rs 4,500 a quintal, respectively, farmers sold their produce for as little as Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 a quintal in various parts of the state.
“I have also asked the state government to offer relief to farmers whose produce were destroyed due to the rains. We assure that each farmer will get the right remuneration for the produce,” he added. He said more than 1 crore farmers have till now subscribed to the soil health card scheme, which assists farmers on crop-wise recommendations of nutrients for individual farms to improve productivity.
“I would also like to appreciate the state government on the effective implementation of the soil heath card scheme. In 2015-16, we had decided to distribute the soil health cards to farmers and within two years, as many as 1 crore 39 lakh farmers have obtained the same. We are hopeful that more farmers will avail the scheme in the future as the same has been linked with the availability of an Aadhaar card,” the minister said.
“I would also like to laud the efforts of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in implementing various reforms in the agriculture sector in the state. Important schemes of the government, including Jalyukta Shivar, and online sale of farm produce are being encouraged in the state to a great extent,” he added. Alluding to the death of 23 farmers in Yavatmal district in October due to suspected pesticide poisoning, the minister said: “Our government will empower the farmers to such an extent that an incident of this kind would not happen in future.”
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