Even as four days have passed since paddy procurement began in Punjab, farmers at the grain market here were forced to sell their produce much below the minimum support price (MSP) since the government-owned procurement agencies are not coming forward to make purchase.
On October 1, the state government had announced that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other food supplies agencies in Punjab will begin procurement of paddy at a fixed minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1400 per quintal for grade-A and Rs 1360 per quintal for the common variety of paddy.
However, several farmers were forced to sell their produce at as low as Rs 1,200 per quintal of paddy.
“After waiting for two days for the government agencies, I sold my produce for just Rs 1,220 per quintal as I do not know when the rain will start and my entire crop gets spoiled,” Dilbag Singh, a farmer at the Kapurthala grain market, said.
Sources said the agencies are waiting for the new orders to package 35 kg paddy in each gunny bag since it is difficult for the farmers to put 40 kg paddy in a bag.This is why the government agencies are possibly showing lack of interest to procure paddy, it has been learnt.
Mohan Singh, a farmer from Bishanpura village, said, “I have harvested around 200-quintal paddy. Due to financial crunch, I had to sell 50 quintals of A-grade paddy at Rs 1,360 per quintal after no government agency turned up to procure my produce at minimum support price. This is causing us losses.”
Gulbahar Singh, district food and supplies controller, Kapurthala, said, “Agencies are doing their best to procure paddy. For now, we have procured around 1,000 metric tonne crop at the minimum support price.