Procurement is yet to gather steam in Sangrur as it would take 15-20 days for the paddy crop to mature in many parts of the district.
Even as the procurement season entered its 5th day on Thursday, only 235 tonne of paddy has reached purchasing centres. Of this, private agencies have
already bought 128 tonne and 107 tonne has not been purchased.
"After carrying out surveys in different parts of district, we have concluded that the crop was still immature and will take nearly more days to be ready for procurement," said district chief agriculture officer Rajinder Singh Sohi.
"We are hopeful of a bumper crop this year, even after a season in which cries of drought and increased input costs dominated discussion. We expect an output of 12 lakh tonne of paddy as against 11.88 lakh tonne next week," he said. Last year, Sangrur had produced the most paddy in the state.
Farmers are also upbeat about procurement and are not much concerned over the strike of purchasing agencies and rice millers in other parts of the state. Most hope that the state government will settle the strike when their crop reaches the market.
"We are praying that the ongoing dispute between purchasing agencies and government would be solved soon and that we do not face harassment in the mandis. Our crop will take another 10 days to mature and we will not harvest it till the issue is resolved," said Niranjan Singh, a farmer.
Demanding immediate amendment in the newly implemented rice milling policy, five government agencies including Pungrain, Punjab Warehouse Corporation Markfed, Punsup, and Punjab Agro and Rice Millers have decided to boycott the procurement process.
Under the new milling policy, procurement agencies and rice millers will be responsible for rice stored in mills.
"The strike has had no impact on this procurement season as the crop is yet to arrive in 199 purchasing centres across district. Besides a few varieties of paddy including PR 111, the main crop will reach the centres around October 15. We hope the issue is resolved soon and farmer are spared any harassment," said district mandi officer, Sukhchain Singh Dhindsa.