NAFED and FCI procure nearly 38 lakh tonne oilseeds and pulses under PM-Aasha

Nafed and Food Corporation of India, among themselves, have procured nearly 38 lakh tonne of oilseeds and pulses under the flagship PM-Aasha scheme during both kharif and rabi seasons of 2018-19 crop year (July-June), as more and more farmers prefer to sell their crops to government agencies for getting the MSP benefit, says a report from Financial Express.

According to official data, as high as 19.7 lakh tonne have been purchased during rabi crops of 2018-19 and 18 lakh tonne during kharif. But, the overall procurement by these agencies is about 45 per cent of the quantity approved by the government.

Main rabi pulses and oilseeds include gram, mustard and masoor. Moong and urad, mainly kharif crops, are also grown in rabi season in some states.

Odisha was the last state where the rabi season procurement ended on July 27 while in many other states it concluded in April. Nafed and FCI are the two agencies entrusted to procure pulses and oilseeds under the government’s price support scheme.

Once a state’s request is received, the Centre approves procurement of pulses and oilseeds, up to 25% of the state’s production. After the procurement, these agencies sell these commodities in the open market and the Centre bears the losses, if any.

Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are the only states where procurement of rabi pulses and oilseeds is over 50% of the quantity approved by the Centre. The procurement was 96% in Haryana. But in states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, it is abysmally low. In Maharashtra, the procurement was just 9% of the 2.5 lakh tonne approved while Uttar Pradesh saw 0.5% of 5.2 lakh tonne sanctioned. Karnataka was a non-starter with just 33 tonne purchased under MSP out of 1.3 lakh tonne approved.

The number of farmers who avail MSP benefits has been increasing every year as more and more become aware, experts said. It also indicates that fixation of higher MSPs has not automatically resulted in improving the mandi prices at the benchmark levels, they said. During kharif season of 2018-19, as many as 13.4 lakh farmers had sold their oilseeds and pulses crops at MSPs to the official agencies while 9.4 lakh were benefitted during rabi season.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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