The Centre has directed its agencies to purchase 390,400 tonnes of mustard and 136,808 tonnes of masoor from Madhya Pradesh, days after the state government decided to remove the two commodities along with gram from the Price Deficiency Payment scheme (Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana).
For chana, officials said a decision on direct purchase could be taken in the next few days. The procurement would be done through NAFED, SFAC, and Food Corporation of India.
Chana is among the biggest pulses grown in the state in the rabi season and its production this year is estimated to be around 5.4 million tones - the highest in recent times. This has led to a massive crash in prices, with it selling almost ~1,000 per quintal less than the MSP.
The fall in chana along with mustard, wheat, and crops has created a groundswell of discontent against the ruling government, which was rocked by massive farmers’ agitation last year.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in a recent interview to Business Standard had said he was confident of barreling this crisis of low prices.
Wednesday’s decision could also mean that the central agencies would procure around 20 per cent of Madhya Pradesh’s total masoor production for 2018, while it will purchase around 40 per cent of the total mustard produced in the state. The procurement would start from April 10 and will be valid for 60 days.
The Centre decided to intervene in the procurement of pulses and oilseeds in the state directly after the state government removed them from the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana, barely days after they were extended.
The move had led to allegations that the state was halting the scheme because of allegations of traders milking the scheme for their own benefit, something the chief minister vehemently denied in his interaction.