National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) has not procured tur (arhar) or soyabean in Latur, one of the biggest tur markets in Maharashtra. Though it has started procurement operations for tur and soya, farmers who used to queue up at procurement centres are selling their produce to traders in the open market where they are getting a much higher price than the MSP.
“The MSP for tur is Rs 6,000 and soya (yellow) Rs 3,800 per quintal. But in the market, farmers are getting between Rs 6,900 to Rs 7,500 per quintal for tur, and about Rs 4,700 per quintal for soya. The inflow of tur in the market is less this year and hence rates are climbing up,” said NAFED official, Y. E. Sumthane, in Latur. He added that on average NAFED procures 2-3 lakh quintals of tur from Latur. “This year we have not procured anything so far,” said Sumthane speaking to BusinessLine.
Hari Mokashe, a local in Latur, said that unseasonal rains had affected tur cultivation and farmers are unwilling to sell to the NAFED. “The actual cultivation cost is much more than the MSP and hence farmers are selling their produce in the open market if they get good rates. However, MSP should continue as it is a fall-back option,” he said.
Sominath Gholwe, a farmer and agriculture researcher said, “It is quite possible that the rates in the markets are inflated artificially. At many places, traders don’t offer market rates and purchase produce just above the MSP price. Today, rates of tur and soya are high because production is less. This might not be the scenario when there is ample produce available in the market, and hence MSP is essential.” He said farmers are vulnerable and could be exploited in any of the existing market systems.
Farmers oppose import of dal
Tur farmers have opposed the All India Dal Mill Association’s demand to import tur at control prices.
The Association has approached the government seeking imports to stabilise the prices. According to the Association, while the crop is 20 per cent lower this year, the demand from large buyers has pushed up prices.
“The government must decide on the import policy, whether it is tur or onions. On the one hand, the government is keen to implement the new farm laws saying that farmers should compete in the open market. On the other hand, it imports agri commodities if rates go up. Government goes by popular sentiment when it comes to tur or onion prices going up. When farmers suffer heavily due to glut production and low prices, nobody comes to rescue us,” said Bharat Dighole, President, Maharashtra State Onion Growers’ Association.
Meanwhile, the price of tur reached Rs 6,950 per quintal in the Jintur market in Maharashtra on Monday. In other markets, the price was above Rs 6,000 per quintal.