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Rajasthan's bonus for wheat attracts Punjab farmers too

The Rajasthan government is aware that the bonus scheme, launched to support farmers in the state, has attracted beneficiaries out of the state as well.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Apr 23, 2012, 09.12 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: Sukhbir Singh Khairon, a farmer in Punjab's Azimgarh village, is frequently visiting his relative Bhag Singh in the neighbouring Hanumangarh district in Rajasthan.

Every time, he unloads quintals of wheat in Bhag Singh's backyard before returning to ferry more grain.

Khairon wants to sell the grain through his relative in Rajasthan which can help him earn a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal that the Rajasthan government has announced on the purchase over and above the minimum support price of Rs 1,285 a quintal.

He is not the lone farmer from this region bordering Rajasthan who has been sneaking into Rajasthan to sell wheat and pocket the extra buck which Punjab is not offering.

The bonus has attracted farmers in a big way and speeded up procurement in Rajasthan. The state government has made a budgetary allocation of Rs 150 crore for the payment of bonus. Government agencies in Rajasthan have bought close to 2 lakh tonne wheat, which is 10% of the total target. In Punjab, procurement stands at 4.04 lakh tonne, down by more than half compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. Haryana, another major wheat-producing state, has done purchases of around 20 lakh tonne.

The Rajasthan government is aware that the bonus scheme, launched to support farmers in the state, has attracted beneficiaries out of the state as well.

"We have made it mandatory for farmers to produce their identity proof while selling the produce at government agencies to prevent farmers from neighbouring states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab from selling their crop at the special price. But for those selling the grain through state farmers, we can do little about it," said a state food department official.

Last year, Rajasthan had procured around 13.5 lakh tonne of wheat. This year, riding on the bonus scheme, it targets a procurement of 20 lakh tonne.

"We have set up 318 procurement centres across the state. We will set up more to reach out to more farmers," said Rajasthan's food minister Parsadi Lal Meena.

Like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh is also offering a bonus of Rs 100 to farmers. The procurement figures have already shot up to 3 million tonne as against the target of 6.5 million tonne.

"We have been offering bonus for the last couple of years. Last year, we purchased around 4.9 million tonne. This year, with the pace at which procurement is happening, we expect it to cross 7.5 million tonne -- much above the target," said Narottam Mishra, a spokesperson for the Madhya Pradesh government.

Also Read

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Mustard cultivation shrinks as rains make farmers turn to wheat, pulses

How wheat can help in fight against ‘hidden hunger’

Wheat import duty increased to 40%

34.06 million tonnes of wheat procured

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