According to senior market committee officials, who do not wish to be identified, the government initially announced procurement from January 15, then pushed it to January 20 and now the procurement date has been set to February 7. Now, farmers will prefer to sell their produce in the open market rather than wait for the lengthy government procurement process.
Maharashtra is all set to commence procurement of tur (arhar) from February 7 onwards, top officials of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Marketing Federation have said. The government has already issued directives for online registrations of farmers. Industry people, however, say the move has come too late.
Tur prices are now in the range of Rs 5,500- Rs 5,600 per quintal, hovering around the minimum support price (MSP), and therefore market committee officials do not expect much of a response from farmers for the procurement programme. The MSP of tur was hiked from Rs 5,450 per quintal to Rs 5,675 per quintal this season. There are reports of a 50 percent reduction in the tur crop because of the drought in the state.
According to senior market committee officials, who do not wish to be identified, the government initially announced procurement from January 15, then pushed it to January 20 and now the procurement date has been set to February 7. Now, farmers will prefer to sell their produce in the open market rather than wait for the lengthy government procurement process. Usually, payments to farmers under the procurement programme are released in a month and half and if the farmers sell it to traders, the payment is received by evening, market committee officials said.
In Latur, one of the key pulse producing regions in the state, daily arrivals of tur are the tune of 5,000-5,500 quintals on Tuesday. Lalit Kumar Shah, chairman, Latur APMC said that since prices are on the higher side, the procurement programme may not elicit a response from farmers.
In kharif pulses (October-March), the area under cultivation across the country has dropped from 157 lakh hectares to 149 lakh hectares till last week. Cold waves and untimely rains may further damage the standing crop, according to reports from the agriculture department. The bumper crop of pulses in the past two seasons prompted the government to cut down on imports as well as export.
According to Nitin Kalantri, a major pulse trader in Latur, the old carry forward stock of tur is huge. Prices of the other pulses are low and in the last couple of years, the fund availability in the market is also low which may have prompted the government to announce a procurement programme. The government has selected the same centres which were there for the purchase of moong and urad. The online registration process is expected to continue till February 23. Earlier, Maharashtra’s procurement programme for moong and urad was called off due to poor response from farmers.
Tur production in the state has come down to 30 lakh tonne from 47 lakh tonne in the previous season, according to market reports. In Maharashtra, Latur, Amravati, Jalgaon, Udgir, Akola and regions of Marathwada and Vidarbha are the main tur growing areas. In 2017, the overproduction of tur became a cause of concern for farmers. Consequently, in the next season, farmers cut down on tur sowing.
In 2016-17, India produced 231.3 lakh tonne of pulses. The following season ( 2017-18) was even better at 252.3 lakh tonne. There was a steep jump of around 150 percent in pulses exports, with India shipping out 2.15 lakh tonne during April-November 2018 from 87,896 tonne during the same period previous year.In 2018-19, the production is likely to be 220 lakh tonne, just enough to meet India’s requirement of 250 lakh tonne.