KENDRAPARA: Farmers across the district are allegedly resorting to distress sale of paddy owing to delay in start of procurement process. As they are selling their stock at much lower price as fixed by the Government, the millers are benefiting from the crisis. The procurement process in the district will start from December 27. Sukadev Behera, a farmer of Dasipur village said he is desperate to sell his produce and it is not possible for him to wait till the procurement process starts at a Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society (PACS), located at Marsaghai, around 12 km from his village.
Sukadev said he sold three quintal paddy to a trader for Rs 4,500, which is much less than the MSP of Rs 1,810 per quintal fixed by the State Government for Fair Average Quality (FAQ) paddy. Sankar Parida of Shyamasundarpur said he had harvested 30 quintal paddy from his farmland two weeks back. He said millers and their agents are camping in villages to purchase paddy from farmers.
Farmers’ leader and president of district unit of Krusaka Sabha Umesh Chandra Singh said farmers in the district had started harvesting their crops in November. But, the authorities decided to purchase paddy from the farmers from December 27. The month-long delay forced several farmers to sell their produce to traders at throwaway prices. Till date, only 34,205 farmers have registered their names to sell paddy to the Government against 41,270 last year.
Civil Supplies Officer Rajanikanta Das said Odisha State Civil Supply Corporation (OSCSP) has decided to procure 5,47,500 tonne paddy in the first phase from farmers in the district. The task of procuring paddy from the farmers has been entrusted to 116 PACS. “After purchasing paddy from the farmers, the PACS will hand over the stock to 14 rice mills in the district. The millers will provide rice to us. We are determined to check distress sale of paddy by the farmers,” he said.