Farmers panicky as mustard procurement suspended
Jaipur, May 11 (UNI) Rajasthan's mustard farmers are in a disarray after mustard procurement has been discontinued owing to shortage of storage space.
The purchasing agencies and state government has officially suspended procurement of mustard at Minimum Support Price (MSP) from May 10 as they cite non-availability of storage space.
The farmers, who were motivated to grow mustard instead of wheat as mustard requires less water, are now in a spot with a 43 lakh metric tonnes bumper crop produce this season.
According to the agriculture department, mustard was grown on 30 lakh hectares of land. The farmers are keen to sell the crop at MSP of Rs 1,715 per quintal.
The state government arranged the crops to be sold through Rajasthan Cooperative Society, Rajfed and Tilam Sangh. But the irony is neither does the state government have the requisite money to buy the crops nor do they have enough space to stock them.
However, it was heartening for the farmers that Centre's procurement agency NAFED would buy at least 20 lakh metric tonnes this year. Till now NAFED has bought only 12 lakh metric tonnes before officially suspending the purchase.
NAFED's move to stop purchase of mustard crop at support price has spelt misery for the farmers as the price has fallen to Rs 1,300 in the open market.
NAFED had also distributed tokens to farmers ensuring them that their mustard crops would be purchased till June 15.
Last year, the farmers had managed to grow 38.58 lakh metric tonnes of mustard on 32.87 lakh hectares of agricultural land. Out of which only 14.06 lakh metric tonnes wer sold and 50 per cent of the unsold crops are still lying in the godowns.
With the storage problem becoming a major issue, the Rajasthan State Ware Housing Corporation has suggested the idea of hiring private godowns.
The farmers say the state government inspite of encouraging them to grow mustard, were not prepared with the future steps of selling and storing the produce and hence they now have to sell their crops at a much lesser price incurring huge losses.
The Centre and state government are also not clear about the pending payement of crore of rupees to farmers who have already sold their produce at MSP, leading to a panic among especially small and marginal farmers.
UNI RRT PV HT1704