Kurukshetra, June 9
Thousands of quintals of sunflower seeds are lying in the grain markets as the state government and farmers are at loggerheads over oilseeds prices for the 2023-24 season. While the farmers are demanding Rs 6,400 per quintal (the MSP for the crop this season), the government is offering Rs 4,800 through HAFED and Rs 1,000 per quintal under the Bhavantar Bharpai scheme.
NAFED not buying
Earlier, we used to buy sunflower for NAFED, but now, the agency is not buying it. However, we are still going for commercial purchase and in addition to the market price, we are giving Rs 1,000 per quintal more under the Bhavantar Bharpai scheme.
Banwari Lal, cooperative minister
The decision has evoked criticism from the farmers. They have accused the state government of getting rid of the purchase and leaving them at the mercy of private buyers. According to information, sunflower seeds in Kurukshetra were grown on around 32,000 acres and about 80 per cent crop has been harvested. Around 71.27 MT stock has been procured by the HAFED in commercial purchase so far.
Will reduce area under oilseeds cultivation
Next year, I may decrease the area under the sunflower if the government fails to ensure that the produce is bought at the MSP. A farmer
Ajaib Singh, a farmer, at Shahabad grain market, said, “I brought around 80 quintal stock to the mandi and will take it back home after getting it cleaned. There is a bumper crop this year. I stand with protesting farmers and will not sell my produce below the MSP.”
Meanwhile, another farmer, who had reached the market committee office to sell his produce, said: “Last year, I had sold my produce to private traders as the crop was fetching returns well above the MSP. After getting a good response for the oilseeds this year, I increased the area from four acres to 31 acres, but the prices have crashed. Now, as the paddy sowing is set to begin, we need money for the crop. Next year, I may decrease the area under the sunflower if the government fails to ensure that the produce is bought at the MSP.”
Last year, the MSP was
Rs 6,015 per quintal and the majority of the stocks were sold to private players as they were offering Rs 6,250 to 6,750 per quintal. BKU (Charuni) president Sanju Gundiana said, “Sunflower crop is not secure even after harvesting as the farmers cannot store it for long, given its nature. We will continue to protest till the HAFED starts procurement at the promised MSP.”
A trader said, “The sunflower seeds are fetching
Rs 3,900-4,200 per quintal. In the past two years, the oilseeds witnessed some good returns due to global factors — especially the Ukraine-Russia war. However, for the past year, the prices are seeing a continuous decline.”
Shahabad grain market committee secretary Krishan Malik said: “Along with announcements, farmers are also being motivated to sell their produce. This year, we are expecting the arrivals to remain over 2.25 lakh per quintal.”
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