Modi Government Steps Up Kharif Crops Procurement Even As Farmers' Protests Lose Steam

by M R Subramani - Oct 9, 2020 02:09 PM +05:30 IST
Modi Government Steps Up Kharif Crops Procurement Even As Farmers' Protests Lose Steam A paddy field in southern India (Wikimedia Commons)
Snapshot
  • Value of paddy procurement 33 per cent higher as compared to the same period last year.

    So far, the Centre has procured 2.04 million tonnes (mt) of paddy benefitting 1.7 lakh farmers.

Even as the farmers’ agitation in some parts of the country against the agricultural reforms implemented by the Narendra Modi government loses steam, the Centre has quietly begun procuring key kharif crops whose arrivals have begun in various markets across the country.

According to a Press Information Bureau (PIB) press release, the value of procurement of paddy from the farmers across the country is 33 per cent higher than the value during the same period a year ago.

In addition, the Centre is procuring pulses such as moong, copra and cotton as part of its price support scheme (PSS). This year, the Centre’s procurement of kharif crop arrivals has been timed well in view of the early harvest.

Growers had gone in for early cultivation this year as the monsoon set in on time. A higher than normal rainfall in June also aided early cultivation of the crops.

Procurement of crops such as urad and copra, which is crushed to get coconut oil, is being done despite their prices ruling higher than MSP. These are sometimes used by the States for distribution through the public distribution system.

Usually, the Centre goes in for the PSS when prices of crops crash below MSP to prevent distress sale by farmers and also buoy their prices. This has often happened in the case of pulses, oilseeds such as copra and groundnut, maize (corn) and cotton.

The PIB release said that procurement of paddy has gained momentum with purchases starting even in States such as Kerala. So far, the Centre has procured 2.04 million tonnes (mt) of paddy benefitting 1.7 lakh farmers.

The value of the procurement at the minimum support price (MSP) for paddy at Rs 1,868 per quintal (100 kg) is Rs 3,847.05 crore. This higher procurement is significant in view of the fact that paddy has been cultivated on a higher than normal 40.7 million hectares.

The Centre has also procured, through its nominated agencies, about 376 tonnes of moong (green gram) valued at Rs 2.71 crore with 269 farmers in Haryana and Tamil Nadu gaining.

Through the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), the Centre has procured 3,525 bales (of 170 kg each) of cotton from 735 farmers. The procurement is valued at nearly Rs 10 crore.

Cotton procurement has just begun and it could continue until the last arrivals that will be early next year. Union Textiles Secretary Ravi Capoor told media that cotton procurement could be at a value of Rs 35,000 crore at the crop’s MSP of Rs 5,515 a quintal.

The procurement of cotton is against the arrival of some 3.12 lakh bales across the country.

The Modi government has also approved proposals from States such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh to procure pulse and oilseeds as part of PSS.

Also, over 5,000 tonnes of copra at a value of Rs 52.40 crore have been procured helping 3,961 farmers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The Centre has sanctioned the procurement of some 1.23 lakh tonnes of copra in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Of this, 40,000 tonnes will be procured in Tamil Nadu alone. The procurement will be made at the MSP of Rs 9,920 a quintal for mill copra and Rs 10,300 a quintal for ball copra.

The PIB release said that other States and Union Territories will also be given the approval to procure Kharif crops under PSS. All procurement will be made at the MSP fixed by the Centre for this year.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani

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