The central government’s decision to purchase an additional one lakh tonne of tur from farmers in Maharashtra till May 31, to enable procurement of late sown varieties, has not enthused farmers in the state. Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis had approached agriculture minister Radha Mohan seeking permission for procurement of 2 lakh tonne from the Centre. The union government, in response, agreed for the procurement of one lakh tonne of tur. Around 6 lakh tonne of tur is expected to be procured.
While the Indian Pulses and Grains Association ( IGPA) calls this a welcome move, some sections of farmers and traders believe this move is unlikely to push up prices. Rates of tur in the state are currently in the range of Rs 4,050 to Rs 4,100 per quintal, much below the MSP of Rs 5,050 per quintal declared by the government.
With the marriage season on in full swing, arrivals in the key pulse producing regions has dropped down to 5,000-7,000 quintals on a daily basis. The shifting policies of the government and the ongoing marriage season in the state has reduced tur arrivals in markets and these are likely to pick up in the first week of June when the procurement stops, Hukumchand Kalantry, president, Latur Dal Millers Association said.
According to Kalantry, prices have been on the downward trend from April 22 when the government stopped tur procurement and around 30% of the stocks continue to remain with the farmers. Moreover, the imports from Myanmar continue which is further bringing down the prices, he added. Around 20,000 tonne is of tur is currently being imported through Myanmar and other Asian countries every month.
Around 500 farmers in Latur— one of the key pulse producing regions in the state had met the officials of the Latur Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in desperation, expressing their willingness to sell their produce at market rates. Lalitbhai Shah, chairman of Latur APMC said that these farmers have been selling their produce in distress. Even if the government has announced an additional purchase of 1 lakh tonne of tur, how this is implemented on ground remains to be seen, he added.
“Arrivals have dipped due to the marriage season and such announcements usually take time to get implemented. Such a move will be of use once the marriage season is over,” he said.
Shah pointed out Farmers are yet to receive payments for tur sold one and a half months ago and the farmers are in desperate need of funds for for the next sowing season and personal commitments. The Latur market was shut for a 15-day period and finally reopened after farmers said that they are willing to sell their produce at market rates.