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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar:  Even as the State Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare (FS&CW) Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain denies of paddy prices dropping below Minimum Support Price (MSP) at isolated open markets in Odisha, the daily  report of the State Agricultural Produce Market Committee, functioning under the State FS&CW department, reveals that paddy (common) prices have dropped below MSP in three market yards of Kendrapada.

As per the State APMC report , prices of paddy (common) in the market yards of Kendrapada, Marshghai and Pattamundai are being quoted at Rs 1,750/quintal against the MSP of Rs 1,815 on Friday (December 13).

A look at the data provided by State APMC shows that while paddy is traded at MSP in other open markets of the State, the same is not witnessed in Kendrapada (see the table below).

A total of 80 tonnes paddy arrived at different market yards in Kendrapada district on Friday. The district has six market yards under the Kendrapada Regulated Market Committee (RMC). It needs to be reminded here that paddy procurement had started from 15th December in 2018-19 procurement season.

What is pertinent here is the rationale behind MSP policy is to insulate farmers from getting unremunerative prices for their produces. The policy clearly states that "In case the market price of a commodity falls below the declared MSP due to glut in the market, the government agencies then had to intervene and purchase entire quantity offered by the farmers."

As per the data with FS &CW department, Odisha has till date procured 77.11 lakh quintals. While procurement under P-PAS is on progress in 20 districts, the process is yet to begin in 10 districts like Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jajpur, Kandhmal, Kendrapada, Mayurbhanj and Puri.

As per an official statement of the FS&CW department, harvesting of paddy in coastal and central Odisha districts is on full swing, for which procurement process has not started till date. "However, collectors of the districts concerned have been asked to initiate measures to open mandis. The Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) have been directed to upload names of registered farmers for issue of token in advance," the statement added.

 

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