Pune: While the Union government has repeatedly promised to make farmers’ incomes ‘double’ with implementation of minimum support price (MSP), traders continue to purchase high-quality produce at rates much lower than the MSP. According to sources, in many markets in Marathwada and Khandesh region, farmers are getting prices much lower than MSP for their produce.
The Agriculture Market Produce Committees (APMCs) are supposed to keep a register of goods that come inwards and to conduct an assessment of the goods, standardising them based on pre-decided quality benchmarks and declare them FAQ (Fair and Average Quality) or non-FAQ. Sakal Times recently published a report on the APMC in Parbhani which was warned by the deputy registrar of the district for allowing FAQ grade produce to be sold at non-FAQ rates.
For an FAQ grade produce to be sold at non-FAQ rates, the trader needs to have a no-objection letter from the farmer. The deputy registrar of Parbhani had disallowed such consent letters and made it mandatory for traders to buy FAQ grade produce at their MSP.
The Jalgaon deputy registrar though has allowed the use of such consent letters and the traders are buying moong and urad at rates almost half the declared MSP. The MSP for moong, according to the government, is supposed to be Rs 6,975 per quintal and urad at Rs 5,600 per quintal.
The markets in western Maharashtra, which are prominent for these pulses, are seeing traders pay farmers Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,500 for moong and Rs 3,800 to Rs 4,500 for urad. The traders are obtaining consent letters from the farmers for them to sell their FAQ goods at non-FAQ rates.
“Though the traders are adamant, they cannot be blamed completely as the market works as per demand and supply. The government is releasing the pulses that are purchased last year in this year’s season and the rates have dropped. To which the traders have responded by paying lower rates. When they can get the same produce from out of state markets at much lower rates, it is obvious that they will not purchase at MSP rates,” said Manik Kadam of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana.
Kadam said, “The farmer is stuck between the government and traders. Recently, a farmer in Parbhani brought 30 kg of his moong and gave it to the doctor as a fee for treating his severely-ill son. That is is the condition of the farmer.”
“The traders used the excuse of a so-called proposed law to arrest them for not paying MSP to disrupt the purchase and the government too let that happen. Now the farmer has no option and is selling his produce at whatever rates he is getting,” Kadam further added.