Slow procurement, monsoon worry for farmers of Odisha's Bargarh

Farmers whose produce are yet to be procured are being taken advantage of by millers’ agents
Representational image
Representational image

BARGARH: The slow pace of rabi paddy procurement due to elections has farmers of Bargarh worried. The farmers are concerned about arrival of monsoon as thousands of bags of paddy are lying unsold under open sky in market yards across the district.

As monsoon is expected to arrive in Odisha in a few days, farmers are apprehensive their produce will get damaged and with it their months of hard work and investment. For the ongoing rabi season, 85,304 farmers have registered to sell their paddy across 294 market yards and PACS besides 50 self-help groups. While the procurement began from May 10, till now around 71,78,045 bags of paddy have been lifted from different market yards. The farmers claim thousands of bags have already been dumped at the market yards but are lying unsold. On an average 5,000 bags of paddy are lying unsold at major market yards like the one at Attabira.

As if this was not enough, agents of rice millers have started exploiting the farmers. Sensing panic among farmers who are ready with their harvest or have already dumped their produce, the agents are offering to purchase the paddy after deduction of 2-3 kg per quintal on the pretext of quality. They are also adding to the farmers’ fears that rain may damage their produce.

Farmer leader, Hara Bania said, “The situation is worse in some villages of Bargarh, Bijepur and Attabira blocks where farmers have dumped their paddy in the market yards but are unable enter their records. If the entry of paddy brought to the market yards is made, then the farmers will have to dispose off their within three days and for that they will have to face deduction by the agents of the millers. At some places, farmers are being deliberately forced in many ways to sell their paddy in haste. “

The problem could have been tackled at many places if the millers were present at the procurement centres. “We were also unable to approach officials on time as they were busy in elections. We tried to persuade the PACS staffs at our level to expedite the procurement process. Now that the elections are over, we hope the process will speed up as farmers are at risk of losing their harvest to rain”, he added.

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