The Centre’s deadline for tur (arhar) procurement in Maharashtra is over. However, clarity is still awaited from the government as thousands of quintals of tur are still lying in market yards of the key tur-growing regions of the state.
Although the state government has sought a further extension from the Centre for the purchase of tur and even as chief secretary Bijay Kumar is reported to have clarified that tur procurement will continue, senior officials of the marketing federation are still in Delhi hoping to get a positive signal from the government. The Centre had granted permission for procurement of tur at MSP until May 31 for around 1 lakh tonne. Market officials say that the procurement is likely to continue till June 10 but nothing has been given in writing as yet.
According to Latur APMC chairman Lalitbhai Shah, 1,100 to 1,200 quintals were being weighed on a daily basis and now that the last date has approached, there is no clarity on the continuation of the scheme. According to Hukumchand Kalantry, senior trader and president of the Latur Dal Millers Association, over 20% of the stocks still are lying with farmers. “This is the wedding season and farmers are still coming in large numbers to Mandis in the hope of selling their stocks,” he said. Shah said that over 15,000 quintals still remain in the market yards. The situation is no better in Akola, Amravati and Vidarbha. He said that verbally it has been said that procurement has been extended till June 10, but nothing has been given in writing. Therefore there is no clarity as yet, he added.
Senior officials of Nafed in the APMC at Akot, another tur-growing region of Maharashtra, said that tokens have been issued to over 5,610 farmers and some 60,000 quintals still remain to be weighed. It would take at least one and half months to complete the weighing of the tur brought by these farmers. “We have stopped issuing tokens at 5 pm on Wednesday evening and clarity is still awaited on further procurement. We are not clear if a further extension has been granted,” the Nafed official said.
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Tur prices have dropped to Rs 3,750 per quintal over the last 8-10 days while the MSP is Rs 5,050 per quintal. Understandably, farmers would prefer to sell their produce to the government. Kalantry said that this has been the highest fall in tur prices for the current season and the last couple of seasons as well.
Maharashtra saw an about 25% increase in area under tur cultivation as compared with the previous year. Tur production in the state increased from 4.44 lakh tonne the previous year to 20.35 lakh tonne in 2016-17. Thousands of farmers in the state responded to the government’s appeal to plant more pulses in the wake of the dire shortage and spiralling prices caused by the drought last year. There has been a bumper crop thanks to a good monsoon. Maharashtra is one of the major tur-producing states in the country and had a bumper crop this year. The area under tur also rose last year. A total area of 15.33 lakh hectares was under tur in 2016 against 12.37 lakh hectares in 2015.