October 15, 2020 5:16:51 am
Following representations from MLAs and farmer leaders, the state government on Wednesday announced that it has decided to allow only 25 kilogrammes (kg) of groundnut to be packed per bag during procurement of the crop from farmers by the Central government at the minimum support price (MSP) this year.
This is a relief to the farmers whose oilseed crop has been affected adversely due to excessive rainfall in August.
“Groundnut procurement at MSP will start from October 21 and in the interest of farmers, the state government has decided that instead of the usual 35 kg, 25 kg of groundnut would be packed in each bag this year. This important decision has been taken after discussion and deliberations at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani over representations made by MLAs and farmer leaders about groundnut procurement at MSP,” an official release from the state government quoted Food, Civil Supply and Consumer Affairs Minister Jayesh Radadiya has having said.
This is a big departure from MSP procurement under the Price Support Scheme (PSS) of the Central government from Gujarat in previous years. The Centre has been procuring groundnut from Gujarat regularly since 2016 through the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED). Usually, NAFED mandates packing of 35 kg groundnut per bag. However, an exception was made in 2018 and 2019 when the government had revised its standard procedure to allow packing of 30 kg groundnut per bag.
“This has been done to ensure that groundnut, which meets the fair average quality (FAQ) norms of oil content, moisture content and impurities, but is light in weight and therefore, 35 kg of it can’t be packed in a bag, is not rejected. Also, 25 kg is the worst case scenario. Our efforts will be focused on packing 35 kg per bag in the maximum number of cases,” said an officer of the Gujarat State Civil Supply Corporation Limited (GSCSCL).
The GSCSCL is an undertaking of the the Gujarat government which has been appointed as a state-level agency (SLA) by the NAFED to undertake groundnut procurement operations on its behalf.
NAFED officers, meanwhile, said that they had not received any official communication from the state government in this regard. “We have not been told about any such decision so far. Once we get something through the official channel, we will be able to respond to it,” said a top NAFED officer in Gujarat.
Lower amount of groundnut packed per bag can increase packaging and handling costs for the government.
It had rained excessively in the month of August this year, adversely affecting groundnut crop in many pockets of Saurashtra region, the groundnut bowl of the state. Consequently, the First Advance Estimate of the state government estimated the groundnut yield in the state to remain 26.37 per hectare this year, lower than 27.64 hectare the previous year. However, the overall production of the crop is estimated higher at 54.64 lakh tonne, as compared to 45.03 lakh tonne the previous year.
The Central government has increased groundnut MSP from Rs 5,090 per quintal in 2019-’20 to Rs 5,275 per quintal this year and the registration of farmers for procuring their groundnut is in progress. “So far, 4.25 lakh farmers have got themselves registered for selling their groundnut to the government. This registration process will continue till October 20,” Radadiya further said.
Last year, the government had procured 4.70 lakh tonne of groundnut at MSP from the state under the PSS, under which the Central government makes physical procurement of a crop to ensure that farmers get remunerative price for their produce.
Radadiya said that a similar amount of groundnut is estimated to be procured this year also from the state.
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