Koraput: Farmers hold back paddy sales over MSP dilemma

Only 90 farmers have sold 733 tonnes of paddy during procurement in last 8 days
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | Express, Paresh Rath)

JEYPORE: Farmers in Koraput district have withheld their harvested paddy from government mandis, posing a challenge for procurement agencies. As of now, only 90 farmers have sold a total of 733 tonnes of paddy. It is believed, the sluggish procurement pace is reportedly due to the BJP’s poll promise of increasing the paddy price to Rs 3,100 per quintal once they formed the state government.

According to sources, the administration opened mandis in 40 locations across Jeypore, Kotpad, Kundra, and Borigumma eight days ago, managed by PACs, SHGs, and Panipanchayats as per government norms. Despite this, very few farmers have brought their paddy to these mandis, resulting in a slow procurement process.

Procurement agencies are waiting at various mandis daily, but in vain. “We are waiting for the procurement of paddy from registered farmers, but no one is coming forward to sell their produce. Such a situation is unprecedented in mandi history,” said a procurement staff member in Jeypore G. Sriram.

Approximately 15,500 farmers have registered to sell their rabi paddy in the district, with the government targeting to procure 11 lakh quintals from them. However, many farmers have stockpiled their paddy, anticipating the announcement of a new minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 3,100 per quintal, up from the current Rs 2,100 per quintal, by the new BJP-led government in the state.

This anticipation has effectively halted the procurement process. “It is obvious that farmers expect a good price for their produce, and we are waiting for the announcement of the new MSP by the BJP government before selling our paddy,” admitted Budu Mishra, a farmer from Dhanpur.

A senior procurement officer in Koraput district, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that farmers are holding back their paddy in anticipation of the new MSP. “We are receiving field reports that farmers are delaying to bring their paddy stocks to the mandis, and waiting for the government’s announcement of the new MSP,” he said.

Last year, at this time, over four lakh quintals of paddy had been sold in the district.

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