MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government today assuring complete support to cultivators, and said it would take steps for the procurement of all their farm produce.
State co-operation minister Subhash Deshmukh said in the Legislative Assembly that 12.69 lakh tonne 'tur', 54,000 tonne 'moong' and 5.86 lakh tonne 'udid' (all varieties of pulses grown by farmers) have been procured by the government so far in the financial year 2017-18.
He admitted that the price of soyabean was more in the market than the minimum support price (MSP), so there was less procurement of the legume - about 2.62 lakh tonne - by the government during this financial year.
"The government will stand by farmers and ensure that all their farm produce is procured," he said in reply to questions raised by the opposition members.
Deshmukh also said that instructions have been issued to the authorities concerned to take action against traders who procure the farm produce at a price less than the MSP.
Earlier, the issue of procurement of gram, tur and soyabean was raised by Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil after the Question Hour. He said farmers were facing hardships since the government had not completed the procurement of farm produce. Vikhe Patil said the state government has not started the procurement centres.
The procurement of farm produce was being done through the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), he pointed out.
"The NAFED is telling farmers that it has been asked by the state government to procure only 27 per cent tur (of the total produce). The actual procurement of tur is only about 4 to 5 per cent, and the gram procurement (target) is 3 lakh tonne. The government should ensure that purchase centres are set up to complete the procurement process," he said.
Jayant Patil (NCP) said the import of peas, lentils and beans should be stopped.
He said the procurement of tur was less than the target of 4 to 5 lakh tonne, out of the total 11. 5 lakh tonne produced during the current financial year.
"The tur worth Rs 600 crore has been procured, but farmers have got only Rs 10 crore," Patil claimed.
He also said that the gram production was 11.8 lakh tonne and the procurement target was three lakh tonne. But, the actual procurement was only 218 tonne, he said.
"Why is the government machinery so lethargic when it should be giving relief to farmers?" he asked.
Prithviraj Chavan (Congress) claimed that the central government had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mozambique (a southern African country) for the import of tur.
"The MoU was signed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited that country in 2016.
The tur is imported from the other country (referring to Mozambique) when our cultivators are waiting for the procurement of their farm produce," he said.
"We demand that the MoU for the import of tur be scrapped," Chavan added.