BY PRAMOD KUMAR JHA
New Delhi: The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) has been engaged in procuring the rabi crops, pulses and oilseeds quite effectively even during the lockdown.
NAFED Managing Director Sanjeev Kumar Chadha told IANS that despite the lockdown, the procurement of chana (gram) and mustard is going on smoothly and payment is being made to the farmers within 3 days.
Chadha said the procurement sites in Rajasthan which is a major producer of mustard have been increased by three fold and that in Madhya Pradesh by two fold. Procurement sites in Maharashtra, Gujarat and other states have also been increased.
The need for increasing the procurement sites has arisen to maintain social distancing in mandis and agricultural markets in view of the outbreak of the highly contagious coronavirus.
Chadha said in the year 2020-21, the procurement of chana and mustard is more than 10 lakh tonnes. According to the latest figure, 5,89,769 tonnes of chana have been purchased from 5,97,076 farmers. Similarly, 4,99,655 tonnes of mustard have been purchased at the minimum support price. According to NAFED, Rs 5,088 crore have already been paid to the farmers for the two crops.
The MSP for chana is Rs 4,875 per quintal, while that of mustard is Rs 4,425 per quintal.
The NAFED chief said the government target for procurement of chana is 24-25 lakh tonne while the same for the mustard is 10-12 lakh tonne.
NAFED, while procuring the rabi crops, also has the responsibility to provide succour to the poor under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY). The government is providing 1 kg of pulses under the food security scheme through the public distribution system to all the poor having ration cards. Chadha said this was a challenge initially due to the lockdown, but NAFED eventually managed to supply pulses to the ration card holders.
Chadha said 4 lakh tonnes of dal have been provided to the state governments to be distributed to the poor during the lockdown.
He said 57 lakh tonnes of dal will be sent to the state governments by May 31 to be distributed for three months as promised by the government.
The government has also decided to provide free ration for two months to migrant workers who have moved to the villages from cities. Under the scheme, 5 kg grains and 1 kg chana will be provided to the migrants. The NAFED chief said the process of providing free ration and chana to migrants has already started.