The kharif procurement began on September 24 with the government buying over 4 million tonnes of paddy from nearly 350,000 farmers at minimum support price (MSP) till October 11. Allaying fears of MSP being done with, a farm ministry spokesperson said the quantity bought by the government so far is 33% higher than the corresponding period last year.
Paddy procurement for 2020-21 progressing smoothly & commenced in Punjab, Haryana & UP. As on Oct 1, cumulative procurement in KMS 2020-21 is 1,97,136 MT. Cotton purchase on MSP for Cotton season 2020-21 started in Haryana: Min of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution
— ANI (@ANI) October 2, 2020
Despite the government procurement happening in full swing, farmers from Punjab and Haryana continue to protest against the new farm laws meant to deregulate agricultural markets, which the farmers fear, will make the MSP system redundant and expose them to the vagaries of the market forces.
The Union agriculture ministry said it will bring in its price support scheme to buy pulses, oilseeds and copra at MSP beyond the quantity approved so far from any state where the market rate falls below MSP.
Till October 11, the government through its food agencies has additionally procured 606.56 tonne of two pulses—moong and urad—with an MSP value of Rs 4.36 crore.
Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh have been allowed by the Union agriculture ministry to procure 3.70 million tonne of pulses and oilseeds.
Besides, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been allowed to procure 100,000 tonne of copra.
Farmers across the country – particularly in Punjab and Haryana – are expressing their dissatisfaction with the new laws. The government says the three new laws are meant to benefit farmers as they now have a choice to sell their produce at markets of their choice.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has time and again assured the farmers that neither the MSP nor government procurement will be stopped.