Fear of distress sale haunts Odisha farmers
Koraput: Fear of distress sale haunts farmers of Odisha`s Koraput district with thousands of quintal of paddy still lying in the mandis after procurement of the targeted amount.
The district witnessed a bumper crop this kharif season. Around 93,700 farmers cultivated paddy over 46,240 hectare and their produce was close to 3 lakh metrict tonne (MT), according to agriculture department sources.
The government had fixed the procurement target at 1,20,169 MT in the first phase, which was later increased to 1,26,863 MT.
"If the government does not resume paddy procurement, farmers will be forced to sell their produce at a price lower than the minimum support price of Rs 1,310 a quintal," said Narendra Kumar Pradhan, secretary of Zilla Krushaka Kalyana Mancha, an outfit working for the benefit of farmers.
Senior Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati attributed the agrarian crisis to the state government`s lack of vision. "The government does not have a specific policy for farmers. Such an attitude will demoralise farmers and they will hesitate to take up farming in future," he said.
"The government should take immediate steps to curb distress sale and protect farmers from being exploited by middlemen," he added.
Civil supplies officer (Koraput) Pitambar Acharya said, "We have sought permission from the government to procure paddy over and above the target and are waiting for the nod".
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