Government procurement of tur is likely to evoke poor response from farmers as wholesale prices in most mandis in Maharashtra are almost touching the government declared minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 6,000 per quintal.
Therefore, farmers prefer to offload their produce in open markets than at the government procurement centers. Lower than expected yields and the decision of small and medium farmers to hold on to their produce have kept the tur prices up, said Yogesh Thorat, managing director of the MahaFPC.
Ahead of the harvesting season, the spectre of a bumper crop had brought down the prices below the MSP. Ex-dal mill prices of the lentil in Latur – the country’s biggest tur market – was Rs 5,700-5,800 per quintal, with further correction of prices not being ruled out as the arrivals start.
Also the Centre’s decision to allow imports till December end had pushed down sentiments just before the harvest season. Kharif farmers have planted tur over 47 lakh hectares with Maharashtra reporting little over 12 lakh hectares of acreage.
However, a steady rally has been noticed in the prices, mostly from the start of January which traders and farmers attribute to crop loss due to unseasonal rains. Per acre yield of the crop, which is normally in the range of 6-7 quintal, has now dipped to 3-4 quintals, which is the main reason for the price rally. Thorat, whose organisation has decided to buy tur across 300 procurement centers, said the price rise has led to many farmers holding on to their crops.
The National Cooperative Agricultural Marketing Federation (Nafed), Thorat said, had announced its procurement plan well late in December just as the arrivals started in the state. “This announcement and quick start to farmer enrollment put brakes on the urgency on part of the farmers, especially the small and medium ones, to offload their produce,” he added. Farmers, he said, are now holding on to their produce in the hope of better prices. “This has put supply side pressure on the markets and the prices are expected to go up,” he said.
Government procurement, Thorat said, has started on January 20 but very few farmers might actually sell there. The state has seen registration of around 1.04 lakh farmers in the centers but the actual procurement would be less. “The announcement and surety of government procurement has helped boost the farmers’ confidence who would now hold on to their produce till the prices are right in open market,” he added.