Post cyclone 'Bulbul', mandis open in Odisha's Ganjam but farmers worried

While the untimely rains had affected paddy harvesting, fear of distress sale looms large among farmers in the district.

Published: 16th November 2019 06:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th November 2019 06:35 AM   |  A+A-

Paddy stored in an open market yard

Paddy stored in an open market yard

By Express News Service

BERHAMPUR: Opening of mandis for paddy procurement on Friday has emerged as a worry for Ganjam farmers who had put crop harvesting on hold due to the recent untimely rains. After facing the brunt of natural calamities including the recent cyclone Bulbul, farmers of the district started harvesting paddy crops from Friday and would continue till December 15.

In such a scenario, opening of mandis from November 15 by the district administration would put farmers in a lot of difficulties, said many farmers’ organisations. Members of Odisha Chasi Surakshya Abhijan, Ratanei Krushak Sangh, Baladev Krushak Sangh, Chasi Surakshya Sangram Manch and Rushikulya Rayat Mahasangh said since farmers of the district harvested paddy late, they would not be able to sell their produce in mandis and hence, forced to go for distress sale.

Earlier, the paddy was procured till March 31 and April 30. But now, the procurement process would be wrapped up in three months as per the guidelines of the Union Government. Hence, farmers would be forced to sell their paddy to middleman, they said. Last year’s paddy procurement had to be stopped on February 28 due to the approaching 2019 General Elections.

This had forced farmers to resort to distress sale. The farmer leaders alleged that though distress sale of paddy in Ganjam has been continuing since the last 10 years, no steps have been taken to alleviate the farmers’ misery.Sources said around three lakh farmers produce paddy in Ganjam.

However last year, only.1.28 lakh farmers had registered their names under paddy procurement automation system (P-PAS). The district administration was able to purchase paddy from only 73,773 farmers.

This year, 1.33 lakh farmers have registered themselves under P-PAS. Though Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare and Cooperation Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain has promised to procure paddy from all the registered farmers, the latter expressed doubt over it.

This year, 390 cooperative societies, one Pani Panchayat and 55 self-help groups (SHGs) would procure paddy from farmers in the district.

384 quintal procured  on first day

JEYPORE: Paddy procurement for the ensuing kharif season began in Jeypore sub-division from Friday. The administration opened mandis in the yards of Jeypore RMC and Kusmi village under Kotpad block and about 384 quintal of paddy was purchased by the Civil Supply Corporation on the first day. However, a handful of farmers were present at the mandis due to delay in harvesting and threshing of paddy in many pockets. The Government has targeted to procure 13.53 lakh quintal of paddy from the district. The administration will open 91 mandis for paddy procurement.

Purchase begins

MALKANGIRI/BALANGIR: Paddy procurement commenced in Malkangiri and Balangir districts on Friday. In Malkangiri, Collector Manish Agarwal kick-started the process at Chalanguda panchayat office. Agarwal asked millers to lift paddy from mandis on time failing which they will be blacklisted. The district administration would procure 8 lakh quintal rice in the first phase from 62 procurement centres through LAMPS. MSP of common variety of paddy has been fixed at `1,815  per quintal. In Balangir, 158 PACS with help of 16 SHGs will purchase paddy from farmers.

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