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Farmers suffer in pvt hands; Should the government buy all the produce of the farmer?

Pipli (Kurukshetra) :
Despite getting a bumper crop of maize this season, 46-year-old farmer Moti Ram of Kohlapur village is a dissatisfied man these days. The reason: There is no government agency in the mandis to pay the minimum support price (MSP).

At the Pipli grain market on Friday, Moti Ram said he would not get the remunerative MSP of Rs 1,425 per quintal as announced by the government.

“There is no government agency in the mandi and private buyers are paying only between Rs 1,100 and Rs 1,150 per quintal for dried grains. There is no use of fixing the assured price when no official agency is going to implement it,” he said. Moti Ram has been sowing maize for the past several years.

This year, he sowed maize on 15 acres at his native village after harvesting potatoes. Last year, he sold the maize – sown in spring — for Rs 1,200 per quintal to private players — a price less than the MSP in the previous season.

Another maize grower Anoop Singh said that after dismal potato harvests for three consecutive years, he was hoping to earn better from maize this season.

“A maize grower can earn more than Rs 50,000 per acre if the rates are ensured as per the MSP. Middlemen reap huge benefits without investing in the crop, but farmers are even deprived of even a fair price,” he said.

Another farmer at the local mandi said that traders were paying a lowly Rs 800 per quintal, citing moisture content in the produce.

“As no government agency oversees the sale of maize, we are at the mercy of traders at daily auctions of the crop. As there is no transparent mechanism to challenge the claim of moisture content, we have to sell our produce at the price that is quoted in the mandi,” he said.

Deputy Director, Agriculture, Dr Karamchand said the state was yet to release the order on maize procurement. However, official sources said the state government was contemplating buying 10,000 tonnes of the maize sown in summer and harvested in October.

“Maize sown after harvesting potatoes is preferred by farmers in Yamunanagar, Panchkula, Kurukshetra, Ambala and Karnal. The spring period is ideal for high yield. But as per the procurement plan, the state has proposed to buy the maize sown in summer,” said the official.

Another farm expert said the government might explore the possibility of a tie-up with a private corn starch unit in Yamunanagar district that has a significant requirement for maize.

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