BERHAMPUR: Left out of the procurement process, thousands of small and marginal farmers across Ganjam district are reportedly resorting to distress sale of paddy.
Secretary of Rushikulya Rayat Mahasabha Simanchal Nahak said around 60,000 farmers, particularly the sharecroppers, are selling their paddy to traders from Andhra Pradesh. Most of these farmers are not entitled to sell their paddy at mandis as they don’t have land records and are not certified by landowners.
He alleged that despite repeated appeals, the district administration did not take any step to facilitate the sharecroppers to sell their paddy at mandis.
Besides, due to early harvest this year, many farmers of the district have stocked their paddy. As the token limit is much less than the stocked paddy, farmers have no option but to sell their surplus produce to AP farmers, he said.
“Farmers are not paid the cost of transportation and gunny sacks at most of the paddy procurement centres (PPCs). They are even forced to give extra 5-7 kg per quintal of paddy. Instead of bearing these losses, many farmers are also selling their produce to traders from Andhra,” Nahak added.
Sources said farmers are selling their paddy to AP traders at `1,470 per bag of 75 kg against the MSP of `2,183 per quintal.
However, civil supplies officer (CSO) of Ganjam Puspa Munda said the administration is yet to receive any allegation of distress sale by farmers. This year, 1,46,541 farmers of the district have registered to sell their paddy. So far, around 70,000 farmers have sold 30.81 lakh paddy at the PPCs. A target has been fixed to procure 45.67 lakh quintal paddy from farmers this year.
The paddy procurement started on December 22 last year. Going by the current pace of procurement, paddy purchase is likely to end by February, Munda added.
Meanwhile, Ganjam collector Dibya Jyoti Parida has warned of stringent action against persons demanding extra paddy from farmers at procurement centres. In an advisory, Parida said at least 100 quintal of paddy should be purchased at each PPC every day every week. He also directed to display the list of farmers who have been issued tokens to sell paddy, at procurement centres.