Agri Business

Gujarat procures 3 lakh tonnes of groundnut via price support scheme

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on January 14, 2019 Published on January 14, 2019

Disburses payments to the tune of ₹1,129 cr to 1.1 lakh farmers

After a second consecutive year with bumper groundnut crop, the Gujarat government has procured nearly three lakh tonnes of commodity under the price support scheme (PSS). Started since November 15 by the State nodal agency — Gujarat State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited — the procurement has seen the participation of over 1.4 lakh farmers from across the State.

For the estimated crop size of about 27 lakh tonnes, the State government has so far procured about 2.9 lakh tonnes of groundnut at the minimum support price (MSP) of ₹5,000 a quintal (inclusive of State government’s added bonus of ₹110 per quintal), for the total value of ₹1,455 crore, as on January 13. In a record in itself, the State government stated that it has made payment disbursements worth ₹1,129 crore to 1.13 lakh farmers.

According to State estimates, kharif groundnut crop for the year 2018-19 is likely to be about five lakh tonnes lesser than 32 lakh tonnes recorded last year. The market prices have already dipped below MSP, prompting the State government to announce procurement under the PSS. At Rajkot markets, the spot prices hovered in the range of ₹3,250-4,450 per quintal.

Senior officials of the State civil supplies corporation announced that registration for the procurement opened on November 1, and procurement commenced from November 15, under the guidelines of the Corporation from about 122 procurement centres.

Going by the book

As per the rule, each farmer was allowed bring upto 2,500 kg of his crop for procurement.

However, there were reports of frequent rejection of the crop, on grounds of quality, which caused discontent among farmers. “Farmers brought their crop all the way from their villages only to discover their groundnut doesn’t pass the quality test. This added to their hardships,” said a farmer-leader from Junagadh.

But the State government insisted on following the rule book to avoid irregularities or corruption. This comes after last year’s instances of malpractices during the procurement leading to large-scale corruption. the State government this year also adopted a stricter stance at the procurement centres. Warehouses have been brought under CCTV surveillance, and the entire procurement process is recorded for transparency.

Last year, following record production of the oilseed, the central agency, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (Nafed), had procured over eight lakh tonnes of groundnut at MSP. At some Nafed warehouses, however, stones and lumps of soil were found in groundnut sacks, pointing to serious irregularities in procurement.

This year, procurement is being conducted by the Gujarat State Civil Supply Corporation (GSCSC), with assistance from Nafed. The crop is stored at the State Warehouse Corporation warehouses.

Based on the PSS mandate, the procurement can be carried out for a maximum of 25 per cent of the total crop. The State government has not fixed a procurement limit for this year, although it is not likely to exceed seven lakh tonnes in any case.

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Published on January 14, 2019
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