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Thursday, Dec 23, 2004

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SOPA seeks cut in M.P. mandi tax

Our Bureau

Mumbai , Dec. 22

DOMESTIC soyabean trade, facing sluggish prices and severe under utilisation of capacity, has also been impacted by the ITC Ltd's e-choupal system which has been increasing direct purchases from farmers, according to the Soyabean Processors' Association of India (SOPA).

This was amply evident in the State-wide strike, which had the support of traders and their associations, said SOPA in press release.

The US and South American countries have reaped bumper crops this year which has lowered the prices of soyabean meal and soyabean oil internationally. This has led to negative margin in soyabean processing from the beginning of the year, SOPA said.

``The farmers are also equally perturbed first because of the lower rainfall leading to lower production, coupled with lower prices of soyabean produce in the market,'' the release said.

The farmers had invested in input such as insecticides, pesticides, fertilisers and use of advanced implements for cultivation in view of the `excellent' prices they got last year for soyabean produce. But, the industry, now battling with low prices, is faced with excess capacity and low availability of soyabeans, it said.

SOPA has requested the Madhya Pradesh Government to announce some effective measures to counter the problems of the trade. It has sought a reduction in mandi tax to 0.5 per cent from 2.2 per cent and has asked for removal of discrepancies in mandi, choupal and procuring centres.

Water and electricity are the perennial problems for the farmers and steps need to be taken to minimise these infrastructural difficulties, SOPA said.

``There is an immediate need for increasing the productivity of soyabean through a time-bound programme so that it will increase farmers' income. The trade and industry will able to procure adequate quantities of soyabean to meet their requirements,'' it said.

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