Last month, the district administration ordered opening of as many as 24 DPCs (direct procurement centres) in different locations to facilitate farmers to sell their paddy.
Amid much fanfare, the first DPC for the post-harvest season was opened at Kulamangalam near Anaiyur here by Cooperation Minister ‘Sellur’ K. Raju.
The officials promised to open more outlets, if needed in any hamlet, after examining the modalities. “Our aim is to reach out to you (farmers) and that you (farmers) should benefit from the DPCs,” they said at the function.
However, the lukewarm response to the DPCs from the farmers had come as a shock to the officials.
When asked where did the farmers sell the paddy, the officials said they sold their produce to private paddy vendors and commission agents. Inquiries with official sources suggested that the merchants’ terms and conditions were more advantageous to the farmers that they preferred to sell their produce in private markets.
As the officials were fussy about the high moisture content in the paddy and laid certain rigid rules, the farmers went to private merchants who made the sale easy.
Farmers at Vadipatti, Alanganallur and Sholavandan alleged that the staff at some of the DPCs rejected their produce after it was transported all the way from the fields to the DPCs.
Moreover, the DPCs did not encourage spot payment and wanted the the farmers to bring gunny bags for transporting the paddy. The staff were also not farmer-friendly, they said.
When contacted, an official in the Civil Supplies Corporation said from seven DPCs opened in the four blocks of the district, around 400 tonnes of paddy had been procured so far.
While admitting that some private vendors attracted farmers through easier terms, the official said the DPCs had in a way helped the farmers get more money for their produce.