Even as more than 50% paddy produce in Haryana has been harvested, there is no relief for growers as prices of paddy are still below Rs 1,800 per quintal.
The prices of Basmati varieties are around Rs 1,700 per quintal, which are Rs 1,500 lower than the last year’s rate of Rs 3200 per quintal, and farmers have no option but to dispose of their hardearned produce at the arbitrary prices being offered by private rice traders.
In the beginning of procurement season, the Haryana government’s decision of procuring Pusa PB 1509 variety of paddy at a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,450 per quintal had triggered a hike in the prices of Basmati varieties, taking these from Rs 1300 to Rs 1,500 per quintal. However, even as the paddy harvesting is now at its peak, the prices are stuck around Rs 1700 per quintal for the past one week and there is no relief for the farmers.
‘Traders hand in glove with govt’
As the prices of basmati varieties, including Pusa 1509, Pusa 1121, Moochal (duplicate basmati) and Sharbati, are stuck between Rs 1,700 and Rs 1,750 for the past one week, the farmers are alleging that the private traders are hand in glove with the government officials to make most of the farmers’ helplessness. “As we cannot store our produce due to lack of storage facility and also, as we are in need of money, so we are forced to sell our produce at the prices dictated by traders,” said Devender Singh, a farmer of Ladaut village of Rohtak district.
He said, “As there is no rise in the prices of Pusa 1121 and farmers are selling it between Rs 1600 and Rs 1700 per quintal in all grain markets of the state. It seems that traders, commission agents and government are hand in glove with one another and they will earn huge profits this year.”
Sanjay Kumar, a commission agent at the new grain market in Rohtak, said, “No doubt, the payments of the last year’s purchase are pending, but this gives a reason to the traders to purchase paddy at lower prices.”
Paddy from UP a major problem
Moreover, huge inflow of longgrain Basmati varieties of paddy from the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh, facilitated by lack of action by the state police at the Haryana-UP borders, has added to the woes of Haryana farmers.
According to the rice growers, farmers from Uttar Pradesh are selling their produce in all grain markets in Haryana, specially in the border districts of Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat, Kuruksehtra and Sonepat.
“This is happening as the prices of the Basmati varieties are around Rs 1,500 per quintal in Uttar Pradesh and they also face the problem of lifting and storage space”, said a farmer Satyawan of Sonepat district.
Lack of unity among farmers major concern
Several farmers unions are active in the state and they are not united like their counterparts in Punjab so that they could launch an agitation to pressurise the government to accept their demands.