Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar announced to extend the procurement period of pulses and oilseeds which was scheduled to end on April 30, allowing states to complete their procurement exercise within 90 days. States procure 25% of the total output of oilseeds and pulses from farmers at the MSP fixed by the centre.
The Centre has identified 21 agricultural products, including honey, potatoes, grapes, soya beans and groundnuts, which Indian can export, taking advantage of the trade restrictions against Chinese goods.
The government plans to forecast crop output and yield every month to get regular predictive analysis on the likely demand-supply situation and its impact on prices. The current system of preparing forecasts every four months is inadequate, said officials.
The government has allowed farmers to directly sell produce from selected warehouses or from premises of farmers producer organisations (FPO) over electronic marketing platform eNAM, completely bypassing the mandi.
We are also prepared to provide them 5 kg free foodgrain for the next three months, as announced under PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY),” said Paswan.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has advised wheat farmers to postpone their harvest to April 20 in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The government is likely to disburse over Rs 10,000 crore to farmers across the country by April 20 as compensation for the loss of kharif crop, which got damaged due to excessive rains in October and November last year. Farmers are likely to be paid in their bank accounts under the PM Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).
The FCI also opened its depots for selling grains to millers though state governments, which has curtailed the week-long e-auction process and ease the supply when millers are apprehending a large supply disruption leading to ‘out of stock’ situation in grocery shops over next couple of days.
Apart from that, the government is also pushing through with more trading through its electronic market - e-NAM - to encourage contact less and contagion less trade in Mandi. “Both e-trading and e-payment through virtual e-NAM platform promotes social distancing and promotes safe trading practices,” said a senior agriculture department official.
This will help farmers support their living during the nationwide lockdown, due to which farmers are not able to sell their produce. The government so far has distributed around Rs 54,000 crore benefiting 87.1 million farmers over four equal instalments, starting from December 2019.
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