NUAPADA: Farmers in some parts of Nuapada district are resorting to distress sale with paddy procurement being postponed twice. With many facing pressure from money lenders to repay the loans taken to cultivate kharif paddy, there is no other way out.
Paddy procurement was scheduled to begin from November 8 but had to be postponed due to technical glitches in the Paddy Procurement Automation System (P-PAS).
Small farmers who took hand loans have started selling their crops below the minimum support price (MSP) as credit period for repayment is over and money lenders are charging interest per day.
A farmer of Sardhapur village, Hemdas said, small farmers are the worst affected due to the delay. After waiting for a week, many of them who had registered in P-PAS for procurement are now selling their crops to middlemen at low prices.
Himdas himself has sold 10 quintal of fair average quality paddy at `1150 per quintal. The MSP set by Civil Supply Department for fair average variety of paddy is `1815 per quintal and `1835 for Grade A quality.
As many as 23,595 farmers have registered online for procurement through the 26 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) in the district and 64 mandis that will be opened in five blocks.
The procurement target has been set at 8,38,235,29 quintal and apart from PACS, 14 SHGs will be engaged in the process in Komna, Boden, Khariar and Sinapali blocks.
Sources said due to the technical glitches in P-PAS, the PACS are unable to access software due to which procurement has been postponed.
Since farmers have registered online, they cannot sell their crops offline. Large farmers are also hit as they cannot sell their crops elsewhere because of the quantity of paddy.
Assistant Civil Supply Officer of Nuapada, Thanduram Naik, the P-PAS is managed from Bhubaneswar and hence, no corrections can be made in the system locally. “We are aware of distress sale. Procurement is most likely to start by November 20”, he said.