Tur (arhar)farmers in Maharashtra can now heave a sigh of relief. The state government is expected to commence tur procurement at Minimum Support Price (MSP) from farmers beginning February 1. With the bearish trend in pulses extending into 2018, pulse growers in the state were unhappy. Tur (arhar) prices are under pressure and quoting below MSP. According to senior officials from the state agriculture department, a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting with NAFED and the marketing federation in Mumbai. MSP of tur is Rs 5,450/quintal, including bonus of Rs 200/quintal. The Centre has granted permission to Maharashtra for the purchase of 44.60 lakh quintals. The state government began a registration drive for farmers from January 19 and some 1.17 lakh farmers have registered themselves. Officials said that the government has opened some 159 procurement centres across the key tur producing regions of the state. The state government had begun the registration of farmers during the purchase of moong and urad from farmers. Farmers will receive an alert on their cellphones and accordingly have to take their produce to the centres on the stipulated dates, the official said.
The state marketing federation has been appointed as the sub-agent of NAFED for tur purchase in the state. Last year a record 75 lakh quintals of tur was purchased by the Centre and the state across the country as part of procurement operations. According to Nitin Kalantri, a major tur trader from Latur, a key pulse producing region in the state, prices of tur are currently at Rs 4,400-Rs 4,450 per quintal, well below MSP and arrivals are at about 5,000 quintals on a daily basis. Farmers are waiting for the government to begin procurement operations, he said. This season, the state is likely to witness a good crop in tur and chana.In a review meeting between the state agriculture department and the Maharashtra state agriculture marketing board (MSAMB), officials were told to keep a proper system in place to ensure that the market remains stable and prices do not collapse.
Last year, tur was cultivated on some 15.33 lakh hectares resulting in a production of 20.35 lakh tonne of tur. The government had to extend its purchase programme several times because of the bumper crop. Some 77 lakh quintals of tur were purchased through 152 centres last year. This year, farmers are expected to bring at least 11 lakh tonne of tur for sale into the market, according to market reports. This season, some chana has been cultivated on a record 19.20 lakh hectares.
Farmer Producer Companies (FPC) in Maharashtra, however, are struggling to get a foothold in the procurement of tur this season. The Maharashtra Federation of Farmer Produce Companies, or MahaFPC, a federation of farmer companies in the state that had procured some 33,270 tonne in the last season for the Centre through the small farmers agri-business consortium (SFAC), has approached the Centre to get recognised as a state level agency (SLA).When contacted, Yogesh Thorat, MD, MahaFPC said,” We have spoken to the minister of cooperation and the chief minister to announce MahaFPC as an SLA. We expect an appointment with the CM next week and are prepared for procurement operations.”