The Rajasthan government will monitor procurement of rabi crops at minimum support price to avoid a repeat of last year’s farmers’ agitations, said officials assigned with responsibilities for buying the produce.
A LED display board at the state BJP headquarters in Jaipur shows that the state government will procure four million metric tonnes of mustard and eight million metric tonnes of chana (gram) this rabi season.
This indicates the BJP government’s seriousness to alleviate rural distress following bypoll defeats and ahead of the assembly elections slated for December this year. Rajasthan is the third largest chana producer in the country; the production this rabi season is expected to be 15.86 lakh tonnes, officials said.
After chief minister Vasundhara Raje announced last month one-time crop loan waiver of up to Rs 50,000 for small and marginal farmers, land revenue exemption, and a slew of sops, the state government has taken some follow-up steps.
State cooperative minister Ajay Singh Kilak has said sharecroppers will also be allowed to sell mustard and chana at MSP at mandis. A non-judicial contract will have to be made between farm land owner and the tenant farmer to avail of this facility.
The land owner will have to furnish relevant documents and the tenant farmer will have to fill a form before he would be able to sell the crop on MSP. The payment will be credited directly to the account.
Sources said chief minister has asked the officials concerned to give priority to issues related to agriculture sector and brief her daily about the situation. With the procurement season starting from April, the government does not want a repeat of farmers’ protests following non-procurement of the produce on MSP.
“We will be tracking the procurement of the main crops, such as chana, mustard, bajra, and soybean, to ensure that farmers get fair price this season,” an official said.
While wheat is mostly procured by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), bajra is consumed locally. Farmers generally get good prices for other rabi crops. Last season, crash in prices of moong and groundnut were a major reason for discontent.
Farmers’ unrest has been simmering across the state for the past one year and a recent march to state assembly by farmers affiliated to All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) was foiled by the police. While opposition parties have tried to corner the government over the issue in the assembly, the government has come out with a slew of measures, including partial farm loan waiver.
The state agriculture department is also gearing up to organise Rajasthan global agri meet in Jodhpur division in April. The event is scheduled for April 20-22.