Pulses and Oilseeds: Nafed buy may drop by a third -Prabhudatta Mishra
Forget the fanfare about the PM-AASHA scheme that is designed to lend greater price support to farmers, procurement of pulses and oilseeds by the public sector is likely to drop by more than a third in the kharif 2018 season from the year-ago period. The decline in procurement comes after two consecutive kharif seasons in which it surged and reached a critical mass, compared with very small quantities earlier.
Just about 10 lakh tonnes or 3% of the summer crop output of 314 lakh tonnes were procured by the national-level procurer Nafed as on January 3 and it may end up buying 16 lakh tonnes (5%) or thereabouts before the season ends. While PM-AASHA also comprises a price deficiency support scheme that doesn’t involve physical procurement of the produce, it hasn’t picked up anywhere, except in Madhya Pradesh.
Nafed managing director Sanjeev K Chadha attributed the expected fall in procurement of oilseeds and pulses during kharif 2018 to a rise in market (mandi) prices. “Private traders have started buying pulses in a big way from the farmers after we have stopped offloading stocks in the open market,” he said. Currently, Nafed holds record pulses-and-oilseeds stocks — 49.47 lakh tonnes as of January 3.
As reported by FE earlier, under its price-deficiency payment scheme Bhavantar, which doesn’t involve physical procurement of crops, the Madhya Pradesh government has ensured minimum support price (MSP) benefit for over 15 lakh tonnes of soybean and another 9 lakh tonnes of maize. While PM-AASHA hasn’t lifted the sentiment in the rural sector, the Narendra Modi government is now formulating another package for farmers that includes a sweetened crop insurance scheme and an income support scheme modelled on Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu.
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