Kerala

Procurement delay spells trouble for paddy farmers

Kuttanad farmers postpone harvest following State advice

With the impasse over procurement of paddy yet to be resolved, hundreds of farmers in the district are in distress. The second crop is ready for harvest and a number of farmers have already undertaken harvesting operations.

Paddy is ready for harvest within 120-130 days of sowing operations. As per the farm calendar, the plants are ready for harvest last month-end. The farmers had to postpone harvesting operations based on the State government’s advice that the official procurement would start on October 1. The delayed advice from the government came in accordance with the Centre’s instructions.

The State could not convince the Centre on the need to advance the date, according to farm experts. With the subsidy on procurement being shared by the State and the Centre, the former was not in a position to ignore the latter’s directive.

Farming operations in north India are done on a different pattern and the officials concerned seemed to be ignorant of the ground reality, said Fr Thomas Peelianikkal, Executive Director of the Kuttanad Vikasana Samithy. The postponement of procurement had put stress on farmers as the paddy would get damaged if not harvested on time. Those who harvested paddy have been keeping it in the field hoping that the procurement will begin on October 1. The crisis has worsened with the millers refusing to collect the produce.

The millers are demanding a substantial hike in processing charges. The government has agreed to increase the charges from Rs.142 to Rs.180 a quintal but the millers are insisting on a hike not less than Rs.250. As the issue drags on, it is the farmer who will have to pay a heavy price. They will be forced into distress sale, resulting in heavy loss.

The farmers have started to shift harvested paddy from the fields to safer places on roadsides because of the rain. But it has resulted in additional expenses, causing further strain on the farmer’s precarious financial position.



Paddy was ready for harvest by last month-end

State directive following Centre’s instructions


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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 7:33:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/procurement-delay-spells-trouble-for-paddy-farmers/article7718109.ece

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