Expecting a bumper paddy crop this season, the Jharkhand government has kicked off the procurement process with an assurance to pay the farmers 50 per cent of the amount at the time of delivery.
This is a change in policy from the previous year when the payments were made after paddy processing in the mill, which took around two months from the date of procurement.
The state Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs Department has pegged the expected harvest at 4.5 lakh metric tonnes—about 20 per cent more than last year. Department Director Dilip Tirkey said 1,42,505 farmers have registered so far on the ‘e-uparjan’ website which details the whole process.
“Last year we had expected procurement of 3 lakh metric tonnes, and 3.7 lakh tonnes were procured. This year we have pegged the procurement at 4.5 lakh metric tonnes because Jharkhand received good rainfall,” he said.
Tirkey said a total of 370 collections centres across the state have been designated for paddy procurement. “This year, we have also decided that we will give the payment to the farmer as soon as details are updated on our backend. Ranging from one to three days, the farmer will get 50 per cent of the payment and rest will be paid after completing all formalities. Earlier, the farmer would have to wait for his crop to be transported to the mill to receive the payment.”
The collection centres are Primary Agriculture Credit Co-operative Societies (PACS), Large Area Multipurpose Co-operative Societies (LAMPS) and Farmer Producers Organisation (FPO), among others.
The central government has increased the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy to Rs 1,868 per quintal. The state government is offering a bonus of Rs 182 on the MSP.
Tirkey said one of the issues surrounding the procurement is the farmers’ lack of computer literacy. Another, he said, is the lack of forward linkages in PACS, LAMPS or FPOs.
“We are facing some problems in farmer registrations, but it is not a challenge. I feel that farmers are not attached to these PACS, LAMPS centres as they don’t provide other services like soil testing.”
The department resolution letter states that the farmer will get an SMS as an alert after the registration. It added that in three districts, the Food Corporation of India will procure the paddy and in rest of the 21 districts, the paddy will be procured by the Jharkhand State Food Corporation.
Tirkey added that due to the moisture content in the paddy, they may go slow on procurement in the initial days.
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