The Centre has released Rs 700 crore to cooperative Nafed to undertake procurement of rabi pulses and other agri-produce, grown in the 2016-17 crop year, at the support price and protect growers from falling prices. The fund, made available under the Price Support Scheme (PSS) operated by the Agriculture Ministry, will also be used to clear all outstanding payments to farmers for procurement of pulses, mustard seed, groundnut and other commodities undertaken in the 2016-17 crop year that ends this month. The purpose of PSS is to protect farmers with the minimum support price for their produce in times of price fall. “We have sanctioned Rs 700 crore to National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) for procurement of 2016-17 rabi crops. The line of credit will help the cooperative to make payments to farmers on time,” a senior Agriculture Ministry official told PTI.
From the amount, Nafed has already released Rs 512.18 crore to Maharasthra, Gujarat and Haryana. In Maharashtra, Nafed has already procured 1 lakh tonnes of Tur under the PSS and it is making additional procurement of 15,000 tonnes. The cooperative has also procured 845 tonnes of Moong and 160 tonnes of Soyabean in Maharashtra under the scheme. Similarly, in Madhya Pradesh, Nafed is currently procuring Moong and Urad under PSS. The ministry has asked the cooperative to buy 11,250 tonnes of Urad and 55,500 tonnes of Moong at MSP from farmers in the state. Nafed is procuring pulses under two government schemes — PSS and PSF (Price Stabilisation Fund).
PSS, which is under the Agriculture Ministry, is operationalised only when prices of agri-produce fall below the MSP. On the other hand, PSF, which is under the Food Ministry, commodities are purchased at market prices. Nafed had procured pulses and other commodities worth Rs 5,800 crore during 2016-17 fiscal mainly under the PSF. In the current fiscal so far, the cooperative has undertaken procurement to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore.