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Maize prices crashed, repeat feared during basmati, cotton purchase

September 12, 2020 07:58 AM


Maize prices crashed, repeat feared during basmati, cotton purchase

Farmers raising slogans during a protest against the central government over the agriculture ordinances in Amritsar on Friday. SAMEER SEHGAL/HT
Gurpreet Singh Nibber

CHANDIGARH : The trends during the maize procurement in Punjab that ended recently were not encouraging with the farmers getting nearly 30% less prices for their produce than the last year.

This also resulted in fall in revenues for the state government that gets market fee on the sale of the produce at the mandis even as there was surge in arrivals this year. Maize was the first crop to reach the mandis after the Centre passed two agriculture sector ordinances in June.

“The prices crashed from Rs 1,500 per quintal last year to Rs 1,100 this time. Market fee and rural development fund collected this year was Rs 1.44 crore against the last year’s Rs 1.84 crore,” HS Brar, a senior Punjab Mandi Board official said.

Even more worrying is the fact that agriculture experts and farmer unions are apprehending a repeat of the trend during the cotton and basmati procurement for which arrivals are expected to start any time.

“The prospects for cotton and basmati are not reassuring since the buyer is apprehensive to enter the market in the wake of the new ordinances,” said BS Rajewal, who heads a faction of the Bharatiya Kisan Union.

“These two crops are not covered under the assured procurement system as is wheat and paddy. Therefore, the prices are governed by the market dynamics,” said a mandi board official.

In 2019, 2.57 lakh tonne maize was purchased from mandis in Punjab while 2.61 lakh tonne produce was procured this time, as per the figures compiled by the mandi board.

“There is the need to effectively implement the MSP and assured procurement of all crops. The forthcoming procurement of cotton and basmati will be quite crucial,” said Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) vice-chancellor BS Dhillon.

Waive levies on basmati: Exporters

In a communiqué to chief principal secretary to Punjab chief minister, Suresh Kumar, the Punjab Basmati Exporters Association has demanded waiver of 2% market fee and of rural development fund on the purchase of the aromatic variety of rice

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