The Ministry of Agriculture has decided to purchase an extra one million tonnes of tur dal from farmers in Maharashtra till May 31 to enable procurement of late sown varieties.
That apart, the state-run cooperative, Nafed, has decided to dispose of a significant amount of pulses purchased by it from farmers to build the buffer stock of two million tonnes among defence, paramilitary forces and the state governments.
Nafed is one of the agencies, which undertook procurement of pulses on behalf of the government for creating a buffer stock for use in period of shortages to check price rise. The buffer stock is being created since the previous two years.
“Nafed has started disposal of the buffer stocks. A substantial quantity would be supplied to paramilitary forces and the defence sector and also the state governments as per their requirements under the PDS (public distribution system) and other such schemes,” an official statement said.
The cooperative has procured a record 8.76 lakh tonnes pulses during the 2016-17 financial year. Of which, maximum of 6.65 lakh tonnes of tur has been bought, followed by 1.29 lakh tonnes of moong, 59,000 tonnes of urad and 3,000 tonnes of masoor, it said.
Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, the Central government said that though the procurement has officially stopped on April 22, 2017, and the Central and state agencies has purchased around 32 per cent of the estimated production which was around 0.4 million tonnes.
But the state government had again sent a proposal to purchase an additional 0.2 million tonnes of pulses from farmers under Price Support Scheme (PSS) as production was more than initial estimates and tur continued to arrive in the mandis because of late harvest.
“Considering the proposal, the government has approved the procurement of one lakh MT of Toor under PSS upto 31st May, 2017,” an official statement said.
Meanwhile, in separate development, an official statement also said that the government is actively considering a financial package to debt-ridden Nafed and will take Cabinet nod this month.
“The financial package for Nafed is also under active consideration of the Government of India and it is likely that a CCEA note would be placed in May 2017 for approval of the Cabinet,” the statement said.
The procurement of commodities worth Rs 5,916 crore last year has helped the cooperative to earn a tentative profit of Rs 106 crore before interest, which is highest in the last decade and helped turn around financially, it said.
Nafed had incurred bad debt of around Rs 1,600 crore in its “tie-up” businesses during 2003-06. The cooperative had provided a financial support of Rs 3,945 crore to 62 private parties for trading in non-agri items and out of that many turned defaulters.
Nafed has been incurring losses because of mounting interest liability on outstanding loans due to its failed tie-up business. It has been seeking a revival package from the government to run its operations.
Nafed is one of the central nodal agencies for procurement of 16 notified agri-commodities under the government’s price support scheme.