Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though the harvest of paddy is over in Odisha, mandis are yet to open at several places in the State. Moreover, farmers don’t have confidence in the procurement system of the State government and transparency at mandis. As a result, fearing the worst, many farmers in Odisha are selling their produce to traders from outside the State at throwaway prices. Taking full advantage of the situation, traders from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are procuring thousands of quintals of paddy from Odisha farmers with the help of local brokers.

Below Rs 1500 per quintal!

As per reports, with procurement centres yet to open, farmers have been resorting to distress sale of paddy anticipating the worst. The crisis has augured well for traders from Andhra Pradesh, who are camping in villages in the State to buy paddy at throwaway prices. The farmers are forced to sell paddy to the traders of the neighbouring state at less than Rs 1,500 per quintal.

Responding to the development, many farmers in Ganjam district have demanded that the procurement centres should be made functional soon to stop the distress sale.

“Had the government procured paddy from the farmers, we would not have been forced to sell our produce to Andhra traders at throwaway prices. We demand that the mandis should open at the earliest so that the farmers will not incur so much of a loss and get some profit,” said Dandapani Gouda, a farmer from Ganjam.

“We have no option but to resort to distress sale as the mandis are yet to open,” rued Bhramara Gouda, another farmer in the district.

No messages on mandi opening 

“We are not sure when the mandis will open. Our produce may be damaged if we wait for the mandis to open. Moreover, we have to repay the loans of the money lenders and societies. So, we are forced to sell our product to the traders of the neighbouring states at a throwaway price,” said Manas Das, a farmer from Balasore.

“We are yet to get any message on our mobile phones about the opening of mandis. Under the circumstances, we are forced to resort to distress sale as things may get worse in future and we need urgent money,” said Manas Das, another farmer.

Traders are killing it!

The situation is more or less the same in other parts of the State as well. Taking advantage of the situation, the traders of the neighbouring states and the brokers are making huge profits and the farmers in Odisha are incurring huge losses.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of Ada Cooperative Society, Rajendra Mohanty assured that mandis will be functional in the district on either December 26 or 27.

“We don’t have anything in our hand. Following a land survey by the government, the decision has been taken to open mandis in Balasore district on December 25. However, as it is a holiday, the mandis may open either on December 26 or 27. As per the government rate, the price of paddy per quintal has been fixed at Rs 2,183,” said Mohanty.