The Telangana government’s record paddy procurement for MSP (minimum support price) has failed to save farmers from incurring losses due to a glut-like situation in the market.

With no adequate infrastructure facilities available in the government procurement centres for purchasing, transportation and storage of paddy stocks, farmers are forced to sell their produce for prices lower than the MSP to private players.

The unseasonal rains during the procurement season every year are adding to the woes of farmers. Paddy is getting damaged in procurement centres due to lack of tarpaulins to protect stocks from rains. This apart, there is a shortage of gunny bags and hamalis for loading and unloading of stocks and trucks for transportation.

All these factors are forcing farmers to sell their produce to private traders for prices below MSP instead of taking the risks at government procurement centres for want of MSP.

In the recent rabi procurement, the state government procured a record-high of 90 lakh tonnes of paddy at the MSP out of estimated production of 1.35 crore tonnes.

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Farmers had to sell 45 lakh tonnes to private traders and rice millers with no adequate facilities in the government procurement centres. The state government had planned to implement regulated farming two years ago to avoid excess sowing of any particular crop, especially paddy, but backtracked later fearing resistance from farmers.

Although the government urged farmers not to go for paddy this kharif to avoid glut-like situation in the market, resulting in crash of prices below MSP, it did not make much impact with paddy sown area witnessing higher levels as usual.

Official sources in agriculture department said, “The data gathered from all districts until August 18 shows that paddy was sown over an area of 39.40 lakh acres in the state this kharif against 44.62 lakh acres sown last kharif. With more than one month left for kharif to end, the crop sown area is expected to touch last year’s level again. The government encouraged farmers to sow cotton instead. But cotton was sown in 50.24 lakh acres against 58.60 lakh acres last year.”

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The crop sown area of jowar, red gram, black gram, groundnut, castor, soybean and sugarcane have registered lower than targeted levels as farmers preferred paddy over them.

On the other hand, paddy farmers of old Adilabad district are in distress because of losses they are suffering with rice millers cutting substantial percentage on quintal of paddy supplied in name of wastage due to presence of husk and clay.

Farmers lament that millers are cutting as much as 15-20 kg weight per quintal. These incidents have been reported more in Mudhole and Nirmal areas.

As is, rice millers cut Rs 300-400 unofficially from the minimum statutory price (MSP) of Rs 1,880 per quintal announced the state government. The further cut in the name of husk or wastage is minimising whatever the little income farmers get.

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The “cutting of weight” is, however, low if the farmer is influential or politically connected. Farmers allege officials are not lagging behind in exploiting them by collecting Rs 26 per gunny bag supplied to them for packing paddy.

It is a fact that many farmers have not got MSP of Rs 1,880 for grade-I and Rs1,850 for grade-II quality paddy announced by the state government.

Congress party Nirmal DCC president Ramarao Patel alleged some rice millers exploiting paddy farmers have the backing of local TRS leaders. “Officials concerned are hesitant to take action against these millers because of their affiliation with ruling party,” he charged.

Guddeti Krishnaiah of Penchikalpad in Kuntala mandal of Nirmal district stated that the rice miller who purchased his paddy cut 20 kg per quintal in the name of husk. #KhabarLive #hydnews