Barely days after farmers’ unrest in Madhya Pradesh, the state government today asked the Centre to raise procurement of pulses, coarse cereals and onions as market prices have fallen below MSP on bumper crop production. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan met Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh here to discuss the issue. He stressed upon the need to buy pulses, onion and coarse cereals before the rainy season and assured farmers that their crops will be bought by the Centre and the state government. Paswan assured that the Centre will provide all support to the state government. The western Madhya Pradesh recently witnessed a major farmers’ agitation for loan waiver and remunerative prices. The protest intensified after the death of five persons in police firing in Mandsaur district on June 6. Besides, the number of debt-ridden farmers who have ended their lives in the state in the last fortnight has reached 22 as yet another debt-burdened peasant has allegedly committed suicide in Chhatarpur.
“In MP, there is a bumper crop production. The growth of agriculture sector is more than 20 per cent. Whether its fruits and vegetables or foodgrains, there has been a bumper production in the state. “This is a reason for happiness for us. But at the same time prices have fallen due to bumper harvest which is a problem for farmers,” Chouhan told reporters. The Chief Minister said he has requested the Union food minister to buy pulses through the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in the state at MSP so that procurement of all crops arriving in the mandies could be procured before rainy season. Chouhan also demanded that the Centre should buy coarse cereals at MSP. Responding to these demands, Paswan said: “MP is a state which is producing bumper crop. The state government faces problem because of this as sometimes prices goes below MSP. I have discussed this issue with Agriculture Minister. We are taking steps and will take more to solve this problem.”
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Chouhan said the state government is also procuring onion and pulses. The state has procured 3.2 lakh tonnes of onion out of 32 lakh tonnes production. The Chief Minister complemented the Centre for Aadhaar- seeding of ration cards to eliminate bogus cards. However, he demanded that distribution of foodgrains should be permitted in some genuine cases where there is a problem in verification of beneficiary because of poor internet connectivity or biometrics. “The Food Minister has assured me that he will provide all support to the state,” Chouhan said. Madhya Pradesh produces about 26-28 lakh tonnes onions annually. It is the second largest producer after Maharashtra. Wholesale prices of onion have fallen sharply below Rs 6 per kg in the state as the crop production during late kharif season of the 2016-17 crop year (July-June) was higher.