Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar announced to extend the procurement period of pulses and oilseeds which was scheduled to end on April 30, allowing states to complete their procurement exercise within 90 days. States procure 25% of the total output of oilseeds and pulses from farmers at the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the centre.
“Farmers are unable to sell their produce due to lock down. This decision will they relied during the time of distress. States can start the procurement exercise,” Tomar said while addressing agriculture ministers of states through video conference.
He said that state government should set up a revolving fund like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for procurement exercise.
“Revolving fund will help states pay farmers upfront for purchasing produce at MSP,” he said.
Tomar said that the government will give all kind of support to farmers for harvesting, sowing and procurement activities during this difficult period.
He urged state governments to exempt farmers from mandi tax during the lock down and ask them to bring changes in the APMC Act which can enable trading without contesting the mandis.
“We request states to allow farmer producer organisations and cooperatives to buy produce directly from farmers without them going to mandis. States should also give warehouses the status of mandis so that farmers can directly trade from their,” he said.
Tomar pushes for online registration of farmers so that the procurement can be done in a planned manner.
“Officials can inform farmers about the procurement plan well in advance. This will avoid unnecessary crowding of procurement centres and farmers can be invited in small groups for smooth operation,” he said.