As Haryana is all set to start staggered wheat procurement for the ongoing Rabi season from April 20, the State government is still awaiting the Centre’s response to its request for financial incentives to encourage farmers to stagger the arrival of the produce.
“We have sent a proposal to the Centre according to which, from April 20 till May 4, we will buy wheat on the already announced Minimum Support Price (MSP) of ₹1,925 per quintal. From May 5 till May 31, we have proposed to pay an incentive of ₹50 per quintal, and for the purchase in the month of June, the proposal is to pay ₹125 per quintal. By end of June, the procurement operations are proposed to be terminated,” Additional Chief Secretary-Food and Civil Supplies P.K. Das told The Hindu .
“We are following it up. So far, the Centre has not taken any decision on our request,” he said.
The State government had on March 26 written to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution urging it to announce financial incentives for farmers in Haryana on account of staggered procurement of wheat.
Mandi s increased
In the wake of the government’s decision to purchase the farmers’ produce in a staggered way, the number of mandi s and purchase centres for the procurement of wheat have been increased from 477 to 2,000 this year.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (Haryana) spokesperson Rakesh Bains said that the amount proposed as an incentive was very low and the government should increase it. “Besides, the State government should not wait for the Centre to decide on it but should instead make an announcement at its level to mitigate farmers’ miseries,” he said.
“The State government should also make an advance payment of at least ₹10,000 per acre to farmers so that they have some cash to deal with the situation,” he added.
Problem of storage
Another farmer leader Rattan Mann, president of the Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait), said that the proposed amount of financial incentive would be hardly of any benefit to farmers. “The key issue is the problem of storing the produce after the harvesting. Most of us [farmers] do not have space to store the grain. Government should procure the harvested produce directly from the farmers’ field, which will help the farmer to save on cost and also help in battling the COVID-19 pandemic. In mandi s, it will be a herculean task for the government to make people adhere to social distancing norms,” he said.