ROURKELA: Even as Sundargarh district is yet to achieve its procurement target, farmers have stopped arriving at mandis to sell their produce.The district had set a target to procure 22.31 lakh quintal paddy during 2022 kharif season. As of now, a little over 20 lakh quintal has been purchased from farmers. Sources said the possible reason could be the farmers selling their produce in the open market instead of the paddy procurement centres (PPCs) due to ‘harassment’.
Sources said a quintal of paddy fetches Rs 1,800-Rs 1,900 in the open market against the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2,040 for fair average quality produce. The practice of ‘katni-chhatni’ is rampant at the mandis where five kg paddy is deducted from a quintal. This apart, farmers have to bear the cost of gunny bags, ropes and labour which makes selling their produce at mandis a less profitable affair. Due to such ‘harassment’ at mandis and the fact that the MSP remains only on paper, farmers opt for the open market.
In 2021-22 kharif marketing season, around 22.48 lakh quintal paddy was procured from 44,183 farmers against the target of 22 lakh quintal. Around 3,500 farmers who were issued tokens had complained that they were unable to sell their produce at the procurement centres. But the scenario changed during the 2022 kharif season.
In-charge deputy registrar of cooperative societies (DRCS) Gabriel Soreng said in next few days, procurement centres will be closed in the district. The PPCs are reporting that despite having active tokens, farmers have stopped coming. The remaining farmers do not have surplus paddy to sell, he added.
In Sundargarh, around 5,400 hectare of fallow land was left out of paddy cultivation due to delayed monsoon during 2022 kharif season. Paddy was grown on the remaining 1,98,600 hectare land. However, chief district agriculture officer Birendra Behera said despite late arrival of monsoon, Sundargarh reported a decent yield of 32.5 quintal per hectare.