The Government of India has taken a number of steps to increase awareness among farmers about the foodgrains procurement by the Government’s agencies. Farmers are being made aware of the procurement operations by way of advertisements like displaying banners, pamphlets, announcement for procurement and specification in print and electronic media. Some States have taken steps to pre-register farmers for ensuring procurement from them through a software system. This information was given by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.
Keeping in view the procurement potential areas, procurement centres for Minimum Support Price (MSP) operations are opened by Government agencies, both Food Corporation of India (FCI) and States’ agencies after mutual consultations.
The procurement centres are opened by respective State governments, agencies or FCI taking into account the production, marketable surplus, convenience of farmers and availability of other logistics and infrastructure such as storage and transportation. Large number of temporary purchase centres in addition to the existing Mandis and depots and godowns are also established at key points for the convenience of the farmers.
The Government agencies also engage co-operative societies and self-help-groups (SHGs) which work as aggregators of procure from farmers and bring the produce to purchase centres being operated in particular locations and increase outreach of MSP operations to small and marginal farmers. These societies are additionally purchase directly from the farmers.
The co-operative societies and SHGs are engaged in many States like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. Whereas, in some states like Punjab and Haryana, the Government of India has permitted the State governments to engage Arhatiyas for procurement of foodgrains from the farmers on payment of commission. These steps have been taken by the Centre so that the government agencies can procure maximum foodgrains directly from farmers by expanding outreach of MSP benefit to farmers.