Even as four days have passed since paddy procurement began in Punjab, farmers are 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 at the grain market here.
On October 1, the state government had announced that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and food supplies agencies Punjab will begin procurement of paddy on a fixed minimum support price (MSP) of `1400 per quintal for grade-A and rs1360 per quintal for the common variety of paddy.
However, several farmers were forced to sell their produce at as low as rs1,200 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 rs1,360 per quintal after no government agency turned up to procure my produce at MSP.”
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 MSP.”
“If farmers are still facing problem selling their crop at MSP, I will look into the matter and ensure that they get the right price for their crop,” he added.
Gulbahar said, “Farmers should not harvest the crop till it does not dry properly as moisture becomes the major reason that they do not get MSP for their produce.”
Meanwhile, the government allows 17 per cent moisture content in paddy and agencies can refuse to buy the crop if the humidity increases the same.