With Haryana announcing start of procurement of wheat by mid-April, farmers on Friday said the ‘delay’ in government purchase would pose a big challenge to the farming community to store their produce and burden them with additional costs.
The government purchase of wheat — the main rabi (winter) crop — usually starts in the first week of April in Punjab and Haryana. This year, in Haryana, the government has announced that procurement will commence from April 20. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had advised farmers that “till then they should stock the grain in their homes.”
Several farmers and farmers’ bodies believe that it is easier said than done. “A farmer usually brings a combine harvester machine to the field, harvests the crop and then takes it directly to the mandi (yard) for selling. This practice is adopted for a simple reason because most farmers don’t have space to store their produce at their homes. How and where will one store the produce now?,” said Rattan Mann, president of the Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tikait).
Yamunanagar-based farmer Sanju Gudiyana told The Hindu that after harvesting the crop, storing the produce at home would mean burdening farmers with additional costs.
“I don’t have any space to store the crop in my house. It will be an additional financial burden if grain has to be stored in houses. First, I’ll have to take the produce to my house and then later again to the mandi – it involves loading-unloading and transportation costs,” said Mr. Sanju, who has sown wheat in nearly 12 acre at Gudiyana village in Raduar.
The Chief Minister had, however, assured that in case any farmer is having trouble doing the same, the Marketing Board has been directed to look into the matter. “To make up for the loss that the farmers will face due to delay in procurement and the lockdown, a new scheme will be announced by the government soon,” he had stated.
Punjab CM’s order
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has directed the departments concerned to allow harvesting and marketing of horticulture produce by farmers, with necessary restrictions relating to COVID-19 precautions.