The state government has set up a revolving fund of Rs 300 crore in order to ensure that no delay in payments occur, he said, adding that initially around Rs 100 crore will be available for making payments to farmers. Thorat said the total cost of the operation is expected to be around Rs 250 crore.
Maharashtra has become the first state to include farmer producer companies (FPCs) in the procurement process under the Price Support Scheme (PSS). MahaFPC — the apex body of FPCs — has already started setting up procurement centres at village cluster level for buying moong, urad and soyabean from this week. The FPC has been accorded the status of state level agency (SLA) for purchasing various commodities from farmers at minimum support price (MSP).
At present, moong and urad are trading below their MSP of Rs 7,050 per quintal and Rs 5,600 a quintal, respectively. Yogesh Thorat, MD, MahaFPC, said that last year the state had procured around 70,000 tonne of pulses including 35,000 tonne of urad and 35,000 tonne of moong. The first advance estimates are yet to be declared, and once these figures are available, a review of the procurement targets will be possible, he said.
Targets for soybean will be decided later as the season is likely to start in October, he said. This season, MahaFPC will be procuring some 9,000 tonne of moong and 10,000 tonne of urad. The state government has set up a revolving fund of Rs 300 crore in order to ensure that no delay in payments occur, he said, adding that initially around Rs 100 crore will be available for making payments to farmers. Thorat said the total cost of the operation is expected to be around Rs 250 crore.
“MahaFPC has set up some 94 procurement centres in 17 districts of Maharashtra while Vidarbha Cooperative Marketing Federation has established 30 procurement centres and Maharashtra Cooperative Marketing Federation has opened another 60 procurement centres. The response has been good with 100 farmer registrations at our centres, he said.
Lalitbhai Shah, chairman, Latur APMC, one of the key pulse producing regions in the state, said that there have been no rains in Latur, Beed and Osmanabad, and the situation is very bad, with drinking water being made available to citizens once a fortnight.
The arrival of moong and udad has begun with some 500 quintals of moong arriving in the market. Prices are ruling between Rs 5,200 to Rs 5,800 per quintal for poor quality and Rs 6,100 per quintal for good quality moong. Pulses are arriving from Karnataka, he said, adding that MSP is so high that prices are bound to rule below the support price. Urad arrivals currently are around 1,500 to 2,000 quintals and prices are in the range of Rs 5,500 to Rs 6200 per quintal.
Thorat said that MahaFPC has a target of registering around 1 lakh farmers for the rabi and kharif seasons. This kharif, pan-India, udad has been sown on around 38.14 lakh hectare as compared to 38.86 lakh hectare during the previous season, while moong has been sown on 30.77 lakh hectare as against 34.02 lakh hectare.
Moong is largely grown under rainfed conditions and the first among the kharif crops is to be harvested in Karnataka. In Maharashtra, the delayed monsoon has impacted the acreage and it may result in lower output. The acreage there is around 3.2 lakh hectare as against last year’s 3.9 lakh hectare. Besides delayed monsoon, the shift in preference of farmers towards other crops such as cotton and soyabean in several places have also impacted the acreage.