Government to ease procurement of farm produce commodities

Central government has recently issued multiple orders to ease procurement of farm produce, including perishable horticultural commodities, and asked states to issue authorization letters to companies or organisations having nation-wide supply chain of essential goods. This move will give access to such companies and organisations by issuing them regional passes for easy movement of critical staff and workers in order to maintain the overall national supply chain. It’ll help both farmers and consumers during the lockdown period.

The orders were issued in the wake of consultations with state agriculture ministers in a review meeting, chaired by Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, through video conferencing on Wednesday. During the discussion, various issues were raised regarding harvesting of Rabi crops, procurement, availability of inputs, credit, insurance and inter-state movement of agriculture produce.

“Some of the issues were solved and required instructions were passed on to the states. Other issues which required deliberations were noted and states were assured that it would be looked into and necessary instructions would follow in due course,” said an official who attended the meeting. He said the Union minister sensitised the states for compliance of exemptions which were given to farmers and different agencies for carrying out their operations during the lockdown period.

The agriculture ministry during the meeting decided to hold Kharif National Conference on April 16 (through video conferencing) to firm up the field preparations for upcoming summer sowing season. Thr ministry, meanwhile, issued other orders to different agencies such as Nafed, FCI and Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) for procurement of pulses and oilseeds as decided by respective states. These agencies were asked to complete the procurement operation within 90 days from the date of commencement of procurement.

They were also asked to enhance daily procurement limit per farmer per day from 25 quintals to 40 quintals by relaxing the existing norms under price support scheme (PSS). Even the states were asked for implementation of the market intervention scheme (MIS) for procuring perishable horticulture crops. Under the MIS, procurement is done for perishable horticultural produce, including potato, to protect growers from making distress sale.

The states were also asked to facilitate the farmers in selling their produce at their doorsteps, ensuring availability of produce at consumption centre and decongestion of mandis (agricultural markets).

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