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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: With only a dozen days left for the Kharif procurement season in Odisha to end, the shocker is only 79 per cent of registered farmers have sold their paddy at MSP.

As per the data available with the Odisha Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, only 11.6 lakh, from a total of 14.72 lakh registered farmers, could sell their paddy produce at MSP to date.

THE DISTRICT PADDY PIE

A glance at the district-wise data reveals that as many as in 9 districts the proportion of farmers who could sell their produces at MSP has remained below the state average of 79 per cent. In Puri and Kandhamal, only 56 per cent of farmers have sold their paddy at MSP. The highest of 98 per cent of farmers in Sonepur had sold their paddy at MSP.

In Chief Minister's home district Ganjam, only 68 per cent of farmers could sell their produce at MSP to date.

ODISHA'S CLAIM OF LARGEST EVER PROCUREMENT TRUE?

As per the data available with the State government, the paddy procured and the number of farmers benefitted this year have been the highest ever in State's history.

Sample the following.

  • In the year 2015-16, the number of farmers in Odisha who availed the paddy procurement at MSP stood at 10.78 lakh.
  • In 2016-17, the number rose to over 11lakh.
  • In 2017-18: The number of farmers tumbled down to 7.98lakh.
  • In 2018-19: The total farmers who availed of the MSP stood at 10.1 lakh.
  • In 2019-20: The total count stood at around 10 lakh only.
  • As of date in 2020-21, the number stood at around 11.6 lakh.

Similarly, the Paddy procurement was:

  • State had procured around 29lakh tonnes in 2011-12.
  • In 2012-13, the procurement stood at 36 lakh tonnes.
  • Odisha procured over 26 lakh tonnes of rice in 2014 – 15 Kharif Marketing Season (KMS).
  • In 2015-16, the procurement stood at 30 lakh tonnes.
  • In 2016-17, the procurement was at around 43.8 lakh tonnes.
  • In 2017-18, the paddy procured stood at 49 lakh tonnes.
  • In 2018-19, total procurement stood at 51.4 lakh tonnes.
  • In 2019-20, 52 lakh tonnes paddy procured in Kharif Marketing season.
  • In 2020-21, till date, the procurement stood at 61.6 lakh tonnes

ARE FARMERS BENEFITTED?

An analysis shows, though, the paddy procured between the years of 2015-16 to 2020-21 has been nearly doubled, the number of farmers benefitted increased by a mere 60,000 or up by 5.4 per cent.

Simply put, the procurement process In Odisha has been successful in increasing the quantity of paddy procured at the paddy purchase centres or mandis. But there has been no quantum rise in the beneficiaries.

WHAT CACP COMMENTS?   

The Commission on Agricultural Cost And Prices in its 2021 report has praised Odisha's procurement process terming it as effective as the procured quantity has increased over the years.

However, the big comment by CACP tells the tale about why the opposition goes after the Naveen Patnaik government's jugular.

It says, only 20 per cent of total farmers in Odisha avail themselves the MSP benefit against 95 per cent in Punjab and 70 per cent in Haryana. (see the image below)

The reason: the majority of farmers in Odisha are small and marginal and they have poor access to procurement for a number of reasons. For this, a large-scale paddy distress sale has been taking place in Odisha.

And opposition BJP and Congress have been exactly targeting the government on this.

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