While the farmers were already suffering due to slow procurement of paddy, a spell of sudden heavy rain on Wednesday added to their woes here.
The moisture content in paddy was already much higher than the government's given limit of 17% and now due to rain, it will increase and is likely to cause heavy losses to the farmers. If the farmers failed to dry up the crop in time, the grains will lose lustre and may get discoloured. Earlier, the moisture content in paddy brought to the market varied between 18% to 22%.
The procurement process has already been delayed for eight days, as earlier farmers were not able to fill 40-kg paddy in a gunny bag with a capacity of 35-kg, as per the orders of the government, and government agencies were not procuring paddy due to this.
"The sudden rainfall will lead to more delay in procurement, as moisture range was already very high and now it will increase further," said Resham Singh.
Another farmer Ranjit Singh said, "Earlier, farmers were waiting for government orders for relaxation in the 40-kg paddy per bag directive, and when the government relaxed the limit to 37.5 kg in one gunny bag, the rain has become hindrance in procuring paddy."
Om Parkash Behl, president of the Mandi Arhtia association said, "The government should increase the moisture range to at least 18%-19% as, due to sudden rain, it will become impossible for the farmers to reach the 17% moisture level."
Harminder Singh, district mandi officer (DMO), said that more than 90% arhtiyas have arranged tents to save the crop and who have failed to arrange the tents, strict action would be taken against them.
When asked about the slow procurement by government agencies, the DMO said that the major reason behind the slow procurement was the new order of filling 40-kg paddy in a gunny bag, which was not possible.
Commenting on the new relaxed order to fill 37.5 kg in one bag, he said that so far they have not received any notification regarding this relaxation.
Procurement (Oct 1 to Oct 7)
Agency Paddy procured
(in metric tonnes)
Punjab Agro 28
Private agencies 19,325
More than 6,000 quintals of paddy lying in grain markets is still to be procured.