NEW DELHI: In a first, the Centre has decided to cross-check land records before the procurement of paddy from next month in a bid to ensure the MSP reaches farmers and not traders, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said on Monday.
Most procuring states, barring Assam and Uttarakhand as well as Jammu and Kashmir, are ready and have also integrated digital land records with the Centre’s nodal procurement agency Food Corporation of India (FCI) for this purpose, he told reporters.
Asserting that this new mechanism is in the interest of farmers, Pandey said the crop cultivated by farmers whether in their own land or in rented land will be procured by the government.
“It is not necessary for farmers to own the land or not. If farmers have cultivated any land, that will be procured,” he said.
The whole idea is to cross check how much crop has been cultivated in what area and accordingly procure it, he said, adding this is where digital land records integrated centrally with FCI will help during the procurement process.
The main objective behind this mechanism is that the government procures the crop from genuine farmers and not from traders.
According to the Secretary, “most states including Punjab are in complete readiness.
” Every state wants farmers to benefit from the procurement process and not the traders.
This mechanism will ensure the minimum support price (MSP) reaches farmers and not traders, he said.
Many states like Uttar Pradesh and Odisha had already integrated their land records, while some states had not done and they are doing this year, he added.
Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, who was also present in the media briefing, said the government’s intention is to ensure actual farmers get the benefit of MSP procurement, which the government has increased substantially in the last five years.
The Centre procured 3,449 lakh tonne of paddy at a MSP value of Rs 6,02,156 crore between 2016-17 and 2020-21, while 1,627 lakh tonne of wheat at MSP value of Rs 2,85,071 crore in the same period.
This is much higher than 2,495 lakh tonne of paddy at a MSP value of Rs 2,88,871 crore between 2009-10 and 2013-14, while 1,395 lakh tonne of wheat at MSP value of Rs 1,68,223 crore in the same period, he said.
The procurement of pulses and oilseeds has also increased.
In the 2020-21 marketing year (October-September), a record 879.01 lakh tonne of paddy has been procured at MSP value of Rs 1,65,956.90 crore, while a record wheat of 389.93 lakh tonne at MSP value of Rs 75,060 crore in the 2021-22 marketing year (April-March), he added.
These efforts are being made over the last five years only in the interest of farmers and the government wants the benefit of MSP reaches to the genuine farmers, he added.