Delay in govt purchase date riles urad farmers in Rajasthan
The Rajasthan State Co-operative Marketing Federation Limited (Rajfed) asked farmers to register online for sale of their produce. The agency said it would send a message on farmers’ registered mobile numbers, informing them about the date of procurementjaipur Updated: Dec 29, 2017 19:45 IST
Bajrang Lal, 55, looks at his mobile phone almost constantly to check if he has got a message. The farmer from Garjani village in Bundi district registered online on November 7 to sell his urad produce to the state government on a minimum support price (MSP). His wife and son also registered for the sale, but the family has not received a date for procurement by the government.
Lal is among more than 30,000 urad farmers awaiting a date for procurement of their urad on MSP -- Rs 5,400 a quintal this year.
The Rajasthan State Co-operative Marketing Federation Limited (Rajfed) asked farmers to register online for sale of their produce. The agency said it would send a message on farmers’ registered mobile numbers, informing them about the date of procurement. Rajfed works as the marketing agency of the agricultural produce by procuring grains, pulses and oilseeds for government agencies and private companies
Farmers’ organisations said 92,763 people registered for government procurement of urad but Rajfed announced dates to 61,504.
Lal said if the government did not procure his urad, he would be forced to sell the produce in market at a lower price.
“Farmers are uncertain about government procurement and some of them have started selling their produce in market,” said Hadauti Kisan Union general secretary Dashrath Kumar.
In the Hadauti region, comprising Kota, Bundi, Jhalawar and Baran districts, 65,559 farmers registered for government purchase of urad but dates have been issued to only 42,557, Kumar said. “The remaining are either awaiting a message on their cell phone or engaging in desperate selling.”
Farm distress has a turned a political issue, reflected in the BJP’s poor assembly poll show in Gujarat’s Saurashtra-Kutch region. Farmers’ unions, including an RSS-affiliated one, have been staging protests and sit-ins in Rajasthan for the past six months, a warning signal to the ruling party ahead of three by-elections and next year’s assembly polls.
Low MSP for certain crops puts farmers in financial distress. Farmers in Hadauti region did not even get the production cost in the government’s procurement of garlic, and recently threw the crop on the roads as a mark of protest.
Tej Singh Nirvan, Rajfed regional officer in Kota, said the government had extended the deadline for purchase, assuring that the agency would procure the pulse from all registered farmers.
“The deadline for purchase was December 27. This has been revised to January 27, so the farmers need not worry if they have registered before the deadline,” he said.
Thousands of farmers protested in Delhi in November, demanding better prices for their crops and relief from high debts.