Extra bonus on wheat procurement in MP must reach farmers, says Thomas

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: May 31 2012, 09:06am hrs
With a significant jump in wheat procurement in Madhya Pradesh, mainly attributed to bonus offered by the state government besides minimum support price (MSP) to farmers, food minister KV Thomas on Wednesday urged the state government to ensure that benefits reach farmers, not traders.

The states civil supplies corporation has lifted more than 7.5 million tonne (mt) of wheat this year so far, against close to 5 mt purchased from the farmers. The arrivals at the mandis in Madhya Pradesh has already crossed 8.5 mt.

The extra R100 per quintal bonus, along with the MSP of R1,285 per quintal and conducive weather conditions, has pushed up the states contribution to the procurement drive significantly. However, there are reports about middlemen taking advantage of the procurement drive by selling their stocks too.

The benefit of extra bonus should go to genuine farmers rather than middlemen taking advantage of situation, Thomas said.

The procurement drive in MP is expected to continue for a few weeks more as farmers are still bringing in produce to various centres in the state. Due to short supply of jute bag, our procurement drive is behind schedule, a state government official said.

Meanwhile, Thomas said that for reducing damage of grain, the government will open seven new quality-control cells in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) to monitor quality of grain during procurement, storage and distribution. We have decided to start seven new quality-control cells at Guwahati, Patna, Chandigarh, Jammu, Jaipur, Chennai and Ahmedabad, in the 12th plan, Thomas said, after inaugurating the modernised Central Grains Analysis Laboratory here.

At present, states do not have a very strong quality-control mechanism. The proposed new cells will help state agencies to ensure that good-quality grains are procured, stored safely and distributed via ration shops, he said.

Currently, there are eight quality-control cells in different cities with small laboratories attached to them for physical analysis of grain.