Slow lifting of wheat and its glut in the grain markets across the state has become a major problem for farmers and officials of the food and civil supplies every procurement season.
The growing use of machines in the harvesting process over the years has emerged as one of the main reasons for this situation.
While farmers have switched over to combines and other harvesters from manual harvesting but procurement agencies have stuck to decades-old tradition of manual lifting practices, which have resulted in imbalance in arrival and lifting processes.
With the easy availability of combines on rent basis and subsidies given to farmers to buy their own mechanical harvester it is feasible for the farmers to take their yield to grain markets in wee hour, while the trend was not possible with manual harvesting.
If procurement officials are to be believed the wheat procurement season has got shorter to 20-25 days. Seven years ago, it was nearly 45 days.
However, the ongoing season is also marred with unfavourable weather conditions, which resulted in slow lifting of purchased stock. As per available information, around 7.70 lakh metric tonnes of wheat yield has been procured till date across different purchasing centres in Patiala, of which only 5.50 lakh MT was lifted by the purchasers, while remaining 2.20 lakh MT has been still lying in different grain markets.
District controller of food and civil supplies (DCFCS) Ajayveer Sarao said earlier harvesting was done gradually and wheat yield reached grain markets in a controlled manner, but the situation had completely changed today with the use of advanced mechanical harvesters.
"Now using mechanical harvesters, farmers in a one go bring their yields to grain markets, which results in glut-like situation, causing problem of slow lifting. Farmers even harvest crop which is still not mature and bring it to the grain markets," he said.
He added that there had been no advancement in wheat-lifting technologies. Therefore, it won't be possible to lift the stock at the pace, at which it was brought and purchased in the grain market.
"Bringing mechanical technologies in lifting may pose a threat to employment of labourers," he said.
However, he admitted that lifting in ongoing procurement season had slowed down due to unfavourable weather conditions and rainfall in the past days. Only dried wheat stock will be shifted to godowns, he added.