The government’s silence over the plea for a substantial increase in the incentive for paddy procured at the direct purchase centres has annoyed delta farmers.
Cultivation of paddy was taken up on a fairly larger area during August-September as samba and in September-October as late samba/thaladi in the delta districts by the farmers with the confidence infused by the opening the Mettur Stanley Reservoir on the scheduled date of June 12.
Their expectations for a better price for their produce increased with the Central government hiking the Minimum Support Price for common and fine varieties by ₹ 53 per quintal for the procurement season 2020-21 commencing from October 1, 2020. The Central government had announced that a sum of ₹ 1868 per quintal would be offered to common variety and ₹ 1888 per quintal for fine variety paddy procured during the current procurement season.
Farmers point out that the State government used to declare incentives over and above the MSP fixed by the Union government to encourage farmers to sell their produce at the DPCs.
For the last procurement season (October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020) the State government declared an incentive of ₹ 50 per quintal for the common variety and ₹ 70 per quintal for the fine variety of paddy. During the last procurement season, farmers who sold their produce at the DPCs in the Delta districts received a sum of ₹ 1865 per quintal for common variety and ₹ 1905 per quintal for the fine variety of paddy.
From October 1, 2020, the purchase price for common variety paddy at the DPCs operated by the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation has been fixed at ₹ 1918 per quintal and for fine variety paddy at ₹ 1958 per quintal.
According to Govindaraj of Thirukattupalli, the effective increase in the incentive amount works out to just ₹ 3 per quintal for the common variety. Farmers would get a lesser amount for the fine variety this season compared to the amount they had realised last year. Normally, the hike in incentive amount would be declared by the government after having a discussion with the farmers at the beginning of the procurement season, he said.
Delta farmers who had taken up paddy cultivation with confidence amidst the COVID-19 pandemic anticipated that the State government would increase the incentive amount substantially so that they could offset the increase in input costs effected by the pandemic situation in the agriculture sector, said Sundara Vimalanathan, general secretary, Thanjavur District Cauvery Farmers Protection Association.
“But much to our dismay, the government has not heard our views,” he added.
Mr.Vimalanathan and other farmers such as Govindaraj, A.K.Ravichandran from Thiruvaiyaru block and others continue to impress upon the government to understand the need to increase the incentive amount substantially especially in view of the pandemic by presenting petitions and recording their plea orally at the district and taluk-level agriculture grievance meetings.