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Paddy procurement in Assam: It’s the same old story

Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, July 1: It is the same saga of the farmers of Assam being deprived of the remunerative prices of their produces, mainly paddy, because of the short procurement of paddy by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other agencies, seemingly taking the advantage of Dispur not taking – or perhaps reluctant to take – any definite step to reverse the trend.

The Government’s much-talked-about doubling of farmers’ income and announcement of various schemes for farmers seem to be all tall talk and no action on the ground. Short procurement of paddy by the FCI and other agencies has all along been making the farmers of the State suffer losses. The agencies have rerun this trend in the kharif paddy procurement period from January to April, 2018 as well.

According to sources, during the kharif paddy procurement period during January-April 2018, the FCI and five other agencies procured only 35,946 metric tonnes (MT) of paddy against the target of 1,12,000 MT. Such a huge short procurement of paddy in the State has its direct impact on the farmers who have all along been suffering losses.

What is even more worrisome is that Dispur continues to do anything tangible to reverse the trend for the benefit of the farmers of the State.
According to the sources, during the paddy procurement period from January to April 2018, while the FCI procured just 25,316 MT against the target of 62,000 MT, the Assam State Agriculture Marketing Board (ASAMB) procured only 5,141 MT against the target of 31,000 MT, National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation India Ltd (NAFED) procured only 2,144 MT against the target of 6,000 MT, National Federation of Farmers’ Procurement, Processing and Retailing Cooperative India Ltd (NACOF) procured only 121 MT against the target of 5,000 MT, National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Ltd (NCCF) procured 3,224 MT against the target of 6,000 MT, and Assam State Warehousing Corporation (ASWC) did not procure even a single grain during the period though it had a paddy procurement target of 2,000 MT.

The procurement of paddy from the State is miserable despite the setting up of many paddy procurement centres at different areas in the State.

According to the sources, while the FCI has set up as many 40 such centres, ASAMB has set up 37, five by NACOP, four by NAFED and eight by NCCF.
Procurement of paddy should have started from June 1, 2018, but till date nothing tangible is happening, and Dispur seems not at all concerned.
It is up to Dispur now to make the amends. But how concerned it is, this springs up as a huge poser, though discomfiting.