Contrary to the claims made by the district authorities on paddy procurement from the farmers this kharif season through procurement centres there has been inordinate delay in lifting of paddy from the farmers on various pretexts.
The recent incessant rains has caused immense damage to the crop and paddy has been left drenched in many places. Against the normal acceptable moisture content of 17 %, the presently the paddy was having more than 21 % to 25 % moisture. As there was no adequate space for the drying of the paddy produce in the fields or the marketyards and procurement centres.
Some of the farmers who harvested their crops before the rains found that the procurement centres were not yet ready. Adding to their woes was the fact that there was no storage space in the market yards for the crop. In places where the procurement centres were working the farmers were told to take back their harvest and dry it and clean it.
The district administration opened 132 procurement centres in the district on October 20 and procured only 628.44 metric tonnes of paddy as against their target of 95,000 metric tonnes of paddy in the month of October and another 2.08 lakh metric tonnes of paddy in the month of November.
Due to delay in the procurement by the government, the farmers were forced to resort to distress sale to the rice millers and other traders.
Against the MSP of ₹ 1835 per quintal for ‘A’ grade variety, the farmers were selling it at ₹ 1400 per quintal. For the common variety, the MSP was fixed at ₹ 1815 per quintal, but the farmers were forced to sell at ₹ 1200 to ₹ 1300 per quintal to private traders.
Rythu Ikya Vedika district president Muduganti Venkat Reddy said that the procurement centres do not have place to dry the produce and there no cleaning machines or tarpaulins to protect the crop from rains and fog. Besides, the delay in the payment to the farmers after procurement through government agencies was also forcing the farmers to sell their harvest to private traders, he said.
He urged the government to expedite the procurement process at the government centres and avoid distress sale by the farmers.