Centre starts kharif procurement in big way to douse fury over farm bills

The government has kept a rice procurement target of 49.58 million tonnes in the 2020-21 kharif marketing season
Amid protests by cultivators against the farm bills, the Centre on Monday allowed to all states to start kharif rice procurement today and for the first time also decided to procure one per cent fortified rice which will be blended with normal rice to boost nutrition levels.

That apart, the government said it would also procure around 1.4 million tonnes of pulses and oilseeds from farmers, and start lifting cotton on October 1. Earlier, Nafed had decided to procure soybean and pulses from various farmers in Maharashtra, Karnakata, Tamil Nadu and other states.

The government aims to send a clear message with the latest procurement data--it has no intention of scrapping the MSP and has put in a mechanism for procurement of not only summer-sown paddy but also pulses and oilseeds this year.

Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and several other states are protesting against new farm laws that they feel will lead to procurement in the hands of corporates and put an end to the MSP regime. To make matters worse, the prices of several farm commodities have dropped the past few days due to bumper harvest. 

"About 5,637 tonnes of paddy at an MSP of Rs 1,868 per quintal have been procured till September 27 from farmers in Haryana and Punjab. The procurement from the remaining states commenced today," the Union Agriculture Ministry said.

Paddy worth Rs 10.53 crore (MSP) has been procured from 390 farmers in Haryana and Punjab during the past 48 hours, the ministry said in a statement.

Paddy procurement in the ongoing 2020-21 Kharif Marketing Season started only on September 26 in Punjab and Haryana. For the rest of country, it starts today.

The government has kept a rice procurement target of 49.58 million tonnes in the 2020-21 kharif marketing season.

Besides paddy, the government through its nodal agencies has procured 34.2 tonnes of moong worth Rs 25 lakh MSP value from 40 farmers in Tamil Nadu till September 24.

Similarly, 5,089 tonnes of copra (the perennial crop) having MSP value of Rs 52.4 crore has been procured, benefitting 3,961 farmers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu against the sanctioned quantity of 9.57 milliom tonnes from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, it said.

Based on the proposal from the states, the ministry said it has given nod for procurement of a total 1.37 million tonnes of kharif pulses and oilseeds from states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Haryana.

"For the other states/UTs, approval will also be accorded on receipt of proposal for kharif pulses and oilseeds and procurement will be made as per Price Support Scheme (PSS), if the market rates goes below its MSP," it added.

The cotton procurement for the 2020-21 season will commence from October 1.

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