Fewer farmers benefited from government procurement last Rabi season

Government body recommends increasing procurement of foodgrains from Bihar, UP and Rajasthan  

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 09 September 2021

Fewer farmers in Punjab benefited under the government scheme of procurement of wheat in the last Rabi season, according to the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), the body mandated to measure the minimum support price.

Government agencies procured a record 43.3 million tonnes, as of July 8, 2021, in the 2021-22 Rabi marketing season. This benefited 4.92 million farmers, around twice the number in 2016-17.    

Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan were the two states with high wheat production that recorded an increase in the number of farmers covered under the government procurement scheme. According to CACP data, the number of farmers covered increased from nearly 1.6 million in 2020-2021 to 1.72 million in 2021-2022 in Madhya Pradesh.

Rajasthan witnessed a marginal increase in coverage of farmers: To 0.23 million in 2021-2022 from 0.22 million farmers in 2020-2021.

This number came down in Punjab: To 0.8 million from 1 million over the same period, according to CACP report titled Price Policy for Rabi Crops: The Marketing Season 2022-23.

The report carries details of the state of affairs of agriculture production, costs and trade. Based on this report’s recommendations, the government approves the minimum support price for crops.

On September 8, the government declared the minimum support prices for the mandated six Rabi crops: Wheat, barley, gram, lentil, rapeseed and mustard and safflower.

Three states — Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar — have 23.6, 10.3 and 6.3 per cent of the marketed surplus of wheat in the country. Currently, they don’t have a proportionate share in government procurement of wheat, even though in recent years the number has been on the rise.

CACP recommended that procurement scheme should focus on these states instead of Punjab and Haryana, where it could be hitting a plateau.

The CACP report added:

“While procurement in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana is much higher than their share in total marketed surplus, wheat procurement in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar is much lower than their shares in total marketed surplus and production. The commission, therefore, recommends that efforts be made to strengthen and bring more farmers under procurement operations in these States to reap the benefits of support prices and help enhance their income levels.”

It added that to ensure remunerative prices to farmers in these states, the commission recommends strengthening of procurement operations by opening more procurement centres, creating storage infrastructure and creating awareness amongst farmers in vernacular / schedule languages by states. 

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