COVER STORY

Strict government quality standards, urgent need of funds force farmers to sell produce at low prices

groundnut

MeraNews Network, Rajkot: Farmers in the Saurashtra region have taken to selling their groundnut produce in the open market at very less price due to the urgent need of funds to grow the winter crop. The farmers are not registering themselves with the government to sell their produce at minimum support price (MSP) due to the fear of their produce getting rejected on qualitative grounds.

The state government has announced that it will purchase the groundnut produce from the farmers at the MSP of Rs 1,000 per ‘mann’ or per 20 kilos. But the quality standards set by the government are too strict, claim the farmers who say that the quality of groundnuts has gone down this year due to the scant rains in Gujarat this monsoon.

Farmers say that one has to reach as early as 5 AM in the morning with their produce and wait in serpentine queues awaiting their turn to sell. Most of the times, only those who are hand in glove with government officials involved in the purchase process get to sell their produce earlier than others. Adding to the farmers’ worries is the concern of the high cost of transporting the groundnuts to the market, only to get rejected on qualitative grounds. And thus, they are forced to sell their wares in the open markets at low prices.

The farmers further claim that the government never pays them only after all the purchases are completed, which takes a long time and also leads to heavy rush in banks to collect their money as the payments are made all at once to the farmers. Due to lack of money to sow the winter crop, the farmers avoid going through the painful government procedures and thus sell their produce in the open markets at very low prices.

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