There are no signs of ‘Achhe Din’ for the state’s farmers as there seem to be no takers for the paddy crop too after the losses suffered due to the whitefly attack on the cotton crop. Earlier in the season, the Bajra crop had also been damaged due to the paucity of rain. In fact, since the last Kharif season to the one this year, losses have continued to pile up for the state’s farmers.
Consider this: Last year, the state’s farmers had to dispose of their paddy (long grain varieties) at 50% lower prices than the previous year. If this loss was not enough, the farmers also faced untimely rainfall, hailstorm and waterlogging in the Rabi season. So, marginal farmers in the region are now almost on the verge of giving up farming. “We are worried that the coming Kharif harvesting will be gave another jolt to farmers as we don’t see any rise in the prices of paddy this year,” says a farmer Satpal of Kathura village of Sonepat district.
Early paddy varieties selling at less than half of 2013 rates
The extent of the crisis in imminent from the fact that just a week before paddy procurement starts, farmers are being forced to sell early varieties like Pusa 1509 at between `1,200 and `1,400 per quintal, against `3,500-`4,000 in the 2013 election year.
In fact with most farmers planting long grain varieties Pusa 1509, Pusa 1121, Basmati, Sarbati, most of them will depend on private traders as govt procurement agencies procure Parmal rice only.
“Though the government will start procurement of Parmal rice, but there are no takers of the basmati and other long grain varieties. Traders expect that the prices will remain below `2000 per quintal, causing a huge loss of `15,000-`20,000 per acre to a farmer,” said a commissioner agent Sanjay of new grain market Rohtak.
“We get prices only one year before the elections. Then, for three years, we face difficulty in selling our produce. In Haryana, another problem is that both the parliament and assembly elections take place the same year, which deprives us from another benefit like Punjab farmers,” says farmer leader Satyawan Singh of Gohana.
Bajra crop also caused loss
Bajra growers of the state were expecting a bumper crop earlier, but with rain gods not obliging, the productivity has tapered off. According to Bajra growers, this year the production is far below then the expectations. They also lament that the procurement agencies do not but the entire produce, making them susceptible to exploitation by private traders.
“The government has fixed MSP for Bajra at `1,275 per quintal, but we have to depend on private traders as government does not purchase all produce,” said a Bajra grower Vijay of Singhpura village of Rohtak.
Though, the politicians seem helpless to bring a relief from the state and centre governments for the farmers, but now they are trying to prove their solidarity with the farming community, by demanding relief packages. Taking a lead in this regard, BJP parliamentarian from Bhiwani-Mahenderagh Dharambir has written a letter to Prime Minister Narender Modi, union agriculture minister and Haryana chief minister, seeking a special package from farmers.
Even the opposition is hoping for a rich political yield.
Congress legislator party leader Kiran Chaudhary, who belongs to the Bhiwani region has also been vocal in demanding relief, as wheat and mustard crops were damaged by hailstorm in her assembly segment of Tosham.