PARLAKHEMUNDI:After bearing the burnt of crop damage due to deficit rainfall, farmers of Gajapati district are now facing distress sale of paddy. With the district administration yet to open mandis for paddy procurement, farmers are forced to sell their produce to middlemen and traders of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
This year, the district administration had decided to open 41 procurement centres and the minimum support price (MSP) was fixed at Rs 1,410 and Rs 1,450 per quintal for fair average quality (FAQ) and Grade A paddy varieties respectively.
President of District Krushak Mahasangha, Surya Narayan Patnaik said farmers of villages bordering Andhra Pradesh are selling their paddy stock to traders in the neighbouring State at Rs 900 per 80 kg of paddy, which is Rs 200 less than the MSP. Patnaik further said as the paddy procurement centres are yet to open, farmers are selling their produce at throwaway price to traders fearing unseasonal rain. "Paddy was kept in agricultural lands for a week after harvesting. In case it rains, the paddy grains will be discoloured and would not meet the quality parametres fixed by the State Government. Hence, we decided to sell them to Andhra Pradesh traders who pay us cash on the spot," said Venkatesh Rao, a farmer of Kerandi village, who sold 70 bags of paddy to traders.
District Civil Supply Officer, Bhakta Charan Nayak said paddy procurement will begin after receipt of crop cutting report, which is being prepared by Agriculture and Revenue Departments.