Rogue weather, observed over the past few days, is likely to delay paddy procurement in the district’s mandis that was scheduled to begin on October 1.
Monday witnessed heavy rainfall accompanied by high velocity winds for an hour between 11.30am and 12.30pm. Adding to woes, Chandigarh’s meteorological department has predicted a similar forecast for Tuesday.
“Procurement will definitely get delayed by three to four days considering harvesting will not be possible on rainy days. If the weather fails to change, procurement will further get delayed,” said district mandi officer Jaswinder Singh, adding that as of now he and his team were busy in the final preparations for this procurement season.
Meanwhile, mandis will give farmers Rs 1,510 and Rs 1,470 per quintal for grade ‘A’ or ‘B’ produce. These grades will be given as per quality.
‘Rain will cause marketing issues’
SS Gosal, former research director at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), pointed out that farmers will suffer because rainy days will result in marketing issues during the procurement season.
“Rain and wind at this stage is a threat because it will increase the moisture content in the crop and the grains. Mechanised harvesting will be a difficult task wherever the crops have flattened. Considering all factors, they will also decline yield and quality of the produce,” said Gosal.
A noted agricultural economist, Mohinder Singh Sidhu said the area under paddy in the Ludhiana district was around 2.6 lakh heactres while the total area in Punjab 30 lakh heactres.
“The produce will come from 2.6 lakh heactres of agricultural land and so far, the production does not seem affected. However, if rainy days continue, there are chances of decline in productivity,” said Sidhu, adding that the district generally produces 11.2 lakh tons of paddy which could go up if the weather remains favourable.
Wish list of farmers
The enthusiasm of farmers, who were hoping to make huge profits this season, has taken a hit due to the current weather conditions.
“When moisture content rises in the grains and their colour becomes brown due to excess rain, the produce is priced at lower rates. So, we wish that the rain stops so that we finally begin harvesting the crop and reach mandis with quality produce,” said Kuljeet Singh, a farmer from Mullanpur.
The district’s farmers pointed out that they wanted the Punjab Mandi Board to make all arrangements if it continued to rain during the procurement.
“Each year, there are times when the produce gets wet due to shortage of tarpaulins or paucity of storage space. However, we want that there should be no loopholes,” said a group of farmers.