THANJAVUR: Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday announced paddy procurement price for the current season and ordered opening of direct procurement centres (DPCs) in all districts, except Chennai and The Nilgiris.
In a statement, he said the Union government had fixed Rs 1,550 per quintal as Minimum Support Price (MSP) for ordinary variety of paddy and Rs 1,590 for fine variety. Considering the interests of farmers, the Tamil Nadu government would give Rs 50 and Rs 70 respectively for ordinary and fine varieties of paddy, in addition to the Centre’s MSP.
Thus, in Tamil Nadu, Rs 1,600 and Rs 1,660 per quintal would be given to farmers for ordinary and fine varieties of paddy.
Under the decentralised procurement system of Central government, procurement of paddy would be done through 1,564 direct procurement centres of Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation. In all, the government has planned to procure 20 lakh tonnes of paddy. More DPCs would be opened in places where farmers require them.
But farmers claim the incenwas not enough. R Sukumaran, a farmer from Kakkarai in Thanjavur district, said the new price should have been announced in September and implemented from October 1 onwards.
“The farmers who cultivated paddy during kuruvai and harvested it from October onward suffered losses as the ruling price for the paddy was only around Rs 1,350 to Rs 1,415 a quintal,” he said.
Except for ASD 16, which is cultivated on a limited area and priced above the MSP, all other varieties were sold at a much lower price, he added. Due to the delayed announcement of incentives and late opening of direct procurement centres, farmers who cultivated kuruvai paddy lost out on substantial income, he stated.
Mannargudi S Renganathan, general secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, said farmers would be thankful for the incentives announced.
He said this would be useful for farmers who would be harvesting samba paddy in another 15 days after Pongal. Renganathan stated the harvest continues till mid-March and all subsidies would go to waste if water was not available for the whole month of February.
Sami Natarajan, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, said as cultivation costs had increased farmers have been demanding an MSP of Rs 2,500 per quintal.
“The governments have fixed a very low price. The State government should have provided Rs 250 and Rs 200 per quintal for the fine and common varieties,” he said, adding five years ago the State government used to give Rs 100 as incentive and now even this had been reduced .