Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: While some pockets of Rayagada district is witnessing farmers’ agony due to severe pest attack, the district administration under the able leadership of Collector Smt.Guha Punam Tapas Kumar, IAS, Gunupur Sub-Collector Sri Rituraj, IAS & Rayagada Sub-Collector Sri Prabir Nayak is tackling the issue in a strategic manner. During a District Level Procurement Committee(DLPC) meeting for Kharif Marketing Season(KMS)-2017-18 recently held in the DRDA Conference hall in the presence of several farmer leaders, millers, senior officials from LAMPS, MPCS, RMC, Agriculture and Commercial Tax office, BDOs, Tehsildars including Collector & Sub-Collectors a few very important pro-farmer resolutions were taken.
Collector Guha informed about the importance of farmers’ registration as the basic key and foundation for the paddy procurement. She shared about a divisional conference held at Brahmapur where it had been decided to do away with Aadhar linked online registration. In stead, the farmers including the share coppers needed to bring a certificate from the concerned Revenue Inspector or Sarapanch to participate in paddy procurement. So far 10016 registered farmers of KMS 2016-17 have renewed for KMS 2017-18 and 2052 new farmers have registered making 12068 in toto, who are interested to sell their surplus paddy. Registration will continue upto end of April 2018.
It was resolved to procure paddy from November 29th to last of April. There is at least one procurement-cum-purchase centre(Mandi) in each block. There are 34 such centres proposed for this purpose according to Sri Nilakntha Mohanty, Civil Supplies Officer, who moderated the meeting. According to the statistics provided by Sri Mohanty during last Kharif achievement on purchase of paddy was 93% against the target set. It was only 16% in Rabi season for which no reason was cited.
Sri Sila jagannath Rao, Secretary of Millers’ Association expressed his concern over the expenses incurred on handling operations. He said that the millers invisibly bear the charges where as the farmers did pay the same at the Mandi during procurement causing ultimate loss to farmers. The marketing officers present suggested that either the millers or some third party take charge of Mandi Handling charges. According to the Millers the handling charge was meager Rs.5.67 per quintal for which no contractor agreed. So the Collector suggested that the millers take the total responsibility of the handling charges to which the millers unanimously agreed.
As per the govt guideline the minimum support price(MSP) of paddy for KMS 2016-17 is Rs.1550 per quintal for common paddy and Rs.1590 for grade-A paddy. A target of rice is communicated to this district as 67000 MT which is 100000 MT of paddy. The Deputy Director of Agriculture has furnished the anticipated quantity of paddy which comes to 135805 as surplus to be procured during this KMS. The online surplus quantity against registered farmers amounts to 104923 MT. “But as there is a severe pest attack in few places of the district, these statistics will certainly vary and come down. As the Collector is proactive on farmer issues on the present context, we have hopes and expectations ”, said Sri Bijaya Mishra, a prospective farmer from Munising village in Kolnara block.
There are 98 rice mills in the district out of which 94 millers are participating in procurement operation. Immediate lifting of paddy at Mandi was an issue as during the yesteryear for GPs like Akhusing in Padmapur where the procurement level was upto 8000 quintals per day. The procurement officer opined to set the limit to 1500 quintals; but the millers vehemently opposed as many things like weighing, packaging, grading, etc are already done. So they suggested the quantity to be fixed as 5000 quintals. As per the resolution taken at the meeting, it was decided to remit the amount to farmers online within 3 to 7 days of paddy purchase.
The CSO informed about the IEC activities though drum beat, chetana rath, flexi-banners, posters, pamphlets, mike announcements for a widespread campaign on FAQ, MSP, etc. There is a control room functioning in the district supply office manned by an Asstt Manager of OSCSC Ltd. The Collector Guha emphasized upon the smooth paddy procurement process to avoid hassles especially at farmers level and sought a coordinated effort among the procurement agencies, agricultural department and other related govt agencies, millers and the farmers.