State has restricted quantum of ragi procurement as Centre has restricted total quantum to 2.1 lakh tonnes
Urging the Karnataka Government to remove restrictions in procurement of ragi under support price regime, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah asked the government to also increase support price for ragi to help farmers affected by unseasonal rains in 2021.
He said that the State Government has restricted the quantum of ragi to be procured as the Centre has restricted the total procurement to 2.1 lakh tonnes. Agriculture Department has estimated ragi production in Karnataka to be about 15 lakh tonnes this season, he added. In fact, the government had procured 4.7 lakh tonnes of ragi in 2021, he pointed out.
This year, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that ragi has been cultivated in about 17.5 lakh acres in Bengaluru Rural, Ramanagaram, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Mandya, Hassan, Chitradurga, and Chikkamagaluru districts. The former Chief Minister said that ragi production in Karnataka had increased after farmers replaced eucalyptus groves in their fields.
"The Centre that speaks about doubling farmer’s income has directed the Karnataka Government to procure only 2.1 lakh tonnes following which restriction has been put in place. It includes maximum procurement of only 20 quintals from each farmer," he said.
The former Chief Minister said that farmers normally keep 50% of the produce for their personal consumption, and that the government should purchase whatever quantum that farmers bring to the procurement centre. "Otherwise, they end up selling below market price outside," he warned.
He slammed the government for a meagre increase in support price, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that the increase is just about ₹82 per quintal. “While ₹3,295 was being given per quintal in 2021, the amount is just about ₹3,377 this year. However, cost of ploughing the field using tractor has gone up from about ₹750 an hour to about ₹1,200 per hour. The crop harvester machine cost has also gone up, along with other agri input costs,” he said.
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