October 16, 2018 5:02:54 am
PUNJAB HAS seen 65 per cent less paddy reach grain markets in the past fortnight since official paddy procurement began on October 1 across state as compared to the same period last year. This is due to late rains in September when the crop was about reap and also farmers blame government for shifting official date of paddy sowing by five days from June15 to June 20 this year.
Farmers and officials fear a huge glut of crop in the coming days, as Punjab is expecting 20 MT arrival of paddy in the market against 19.1 MT last year, due to which farmers may not even find a place to store their crop.
Till October 14, only 14.58 lakh metric Tonnes (LMT) paddy had arrived in the grain markets of the state as compared to 41.41 LMT on the same date last year. According to Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) this year the arrival rate is 64.79% less than last year.
The officials said that last year around 4 lakh tonnes paddy was arriving daily in the state markets by this time but this year the daily arrival has reached only upto 2.09 tonnes till October 14.
Out of arrived paddy 10.43 lakh tonnes was purchased by government agencies while 3.24 lakh tonnes was purchased by private players. The lifting of the paddy from the mandies is also slow as till date over 50% paddy purchased is still lying in mandies instead of being transported to the safe godowns.
“This year, first the government delayed paddy sowing by five days, by shifting the officials date from June 15 to June 20, and then late monsoon rains in fourth week of September delayed the harvesting for about two weeks,” said Sukhdev Singh KokriKalan, General Secretary Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), adding that government should allow paddy sowing by June 10 so that crop can be harvested timely and farmers get time to manage their stubble before wheat sowing starts on November 1.
President Punjab Arhtiya Association Ravinder Singh Cheema said that in the coming days, arrival of the crop would be at a fast pace and government has to create the space for huge arrival by clearing daily stock from mandis otherwise farmers would face problems.
Also though government’s Minimum Support Price (MSP) is Rs 1,750 for normal paddy and Rs 1,770 for grade ‘A’ paddy, several farmers are getting below the MSP fixed by the government due to high moisture in the crop owing to late rains.
“We have sold our paddy at Rs 1,600 per quintal to our arhtiya (Commission agent) who further sold to government procurement agencies and now the money will be paid to us by the arhtiya,” said a farmer Sukhwinder Singh at local Jalandhar grain market, adding that commission agent may get full MSP from the government .
“This is the system which has been going on and we have to sell the crop through arhtiyas only,” said another farmer,
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