With sunflower prices falling below the MSP (minimum support price) levels in Telangana, the State Government has asked the farmers not to resort to distress sale of their produce. 

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Telangana Agriculture Minister Tummala Nageshwara Rao has said the government would intervene and would purchase the produce.

Responding to the reports of sunflower being sold below the MSP of ₹6,760 a quintal, the Minister has directed the TS MARKFED (Telangana State Cooperative Marketing Federation Limited) to take measures to purchase the produce.

The Markfed undertakes procurement and marketing of agricultural and other products to let the growers to get remunerative prices, particularly when the prices are ruling below the MSP levels.

Dampening hopes

The country witnessed a steep fall of 64 per cent in sunflower area in the 2023-24 kharif at 0.66 lakh hectares (lh) as of August 2023 against 1.85 lh in the previous year.

The farmers, who increased the area this year anticipating better prices in the backdrop of steep drop in the kharif area, were crestfallen as the prices began to fall, below the MSP levels. Farmers alleged that the prices fell below ₹4,000-mark, dampening their hopes.

Following the Government’s directive, the Markfed would open procurement centres in different yards in the sunflower growing areas.

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The State Government expected an output of about 17,000 tonnes of sunflower in the summer season. Farmers grew the crop on 8,650 hectares in the State this season as against the normal area of 7,900 hectares.

According to Telangana State Government’s third advance estimates, sunflower production in 2022-23 was 0.13 lakh tonnes from 0.07 lh with productivity of 1,745 kg/ha (706 kg/acre). Sunflower was grown to an extent of 3,093 hectares in 2022-23 against 2,996 hectares from the previous year.