Maharashtra Moong farmers suffer double whammy as prices plunge

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Pune | Published: September 1, 2018 12:27:37 AM

Moong (green gram) farmers in Maharashtra are hit by a double whammy at the start of the season. Kharif arrivals have begun in some parts of the state.

Maharashtra Moong farmers suffer double whammy as prices plunge

Moong (green gram) farmers in Maharashtra are hit by a double whammy at the start of the season. Kharif arrivals have begun in some parts of the state.

Apart from the bumper crop that is pulling down prices, traders across the state have stopped purchasing from farmers following reports of proposed amendments in MSP law by the state government. According to some reports, a trader can be arrested and jailed for a year for buying farm goods below the Minimum Support Price (MSP) in addition to a fine of Rs 50,000.

Moong is now getting 25% less rate than the Minimum Support Price ( MSP).

The government has declared a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 6,975 per quintal for Moong. Moong arrivals have already started trickling into Latur- one of biggest wholesale markets in the state for pulses and some 2,500 sacks arrive at the market everyday. Prices in the Latur market are to the tune of `4,200 per quintal to Rs 5,200 per quintal while at Akola prices are in the range of `4,000 per quintal to Rs 4,250 per quintal.

This Kharif season, the net sown area in India for Moong is lagging behind by 1.46%, or 2.02 lakh hectares as per the Directorate of Economics and Statistics. In Karnataka, the Moong growers are doing good and are ahead of the previous year estimates by 8.86%, at 1.72 lakh hectares.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh has not been able to match estimates, and the net sown area is only 0.03 lakh hectares, against normal estimates of 0.25 lakh hectares. In Maharashtra, too, Moong growers are not doing well, and are running behind by 66.66%, with acreage under the crop being 0.02 lakh hectares as against last year’s 0.06 lakh hectares.

The rates are lower than last year’s price of `4,500 to `5,200 due to excess moisture, said Nitin Kalantri, a major pulse trader in Latur.

“Significantly, more than 14-23% moisture has been detected in Moong this year,” he said. Last year moisture content was to the tune of 16-18%.

“The Government has set a parameter of 12% moisture content for the purchase of Moong at MSP,” Kalantri said.

Since a bumper crop is expected this Kharif, even if the moisture content decreases, farmers fear that prices will not increase.

In the next few weeks, arrivals of Moong are expected to double to nearly 5,000 sacks to 6,000 sacks, Kalantri said.

Traders however are not buying or participating in auctions because of a recent proposed amendment by the Maharashtra government which states that traders who buy goods at less than MSP can be jailed.

“Several market committees including Latur are closed and if the situation continues for more than a week, farmers will be forced to sell in distress,” Kalantri said. Some 75 bags of Moong arrived at the Akola Agriculture Produce Market Committee on Friday were priced nearly `4,000- 5,000 pre quintal.

The new arrivals have a moisture content of nearly 25-30%. With the rains and the clouds receding, arrivals are expected to improve next week onwards to some 1,000 bags on a daily basis.

Moong arrivals are also expected to commence in other markets such as Jalgaon. Harvesting of Moong has begun this season and farmers now have some respite after 8 days of incessant rains. Harvesting has therefore picked up momentum.

At present a rate of nearly `4,000-`4,250 per quintal is being quoted at most markets. Prices at Akola Market are in the range of `4,251 per quintal to `5,000 per quintal.

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