Farmer leaders alleged that attempts have been made to create space for private players to procure paddy instead of government buying it on MSP. They pointed at the “attempt” – delay in paddy procurement and capping of per acre yield.
Jagmohan Singh, state general secretary Bharti Kisan Union (Dakunda), and Harmeet Singh, president of BKU (Kadian), in a joint statement said it has been more than 10 months since farmers are protesting on the borders of Delhi. “Farmers are fighting for the protection of the public procurement system, regulated markets, MSP and public distribution system, which are facing a big threat under new farm laws. Now central government, through its procurement agencies, is directing the state governments to put a limit of 34 quintals per acre sale of paddy and also asking farmers to submit land records despite its earlier claims that ‘kisan ka daana MSP par kharida jayega’ (farmers every grain will be purchased on MSP).”
They highlighted that farmers in Punjab had no choice but to maximize per acre yield for survival and that the procurement cap was grossly unfair more so as the government doesn’t include all the input costs in its MSP calculation. The farmer unions said putting a limit on per acre purchase will directly affect farmers and tenant farmers.
“There is no effective alternative mechanism for the rest of the product, which will remain unsold. The government is trying to make space for private players as the unsold product can be purchased by private mandis or traders. First, these private players may purchase this unsold produce on higher MSP, but after a point, when APMCs will become ineffective, the private traders will lower the price than the MSP and farmers will have to suffer on a large scale,” the statement said. “After the government failed to bypass the APMCs by implementing new farm laws, it is putting a limit on purchase for the same target, but differently. There is an interlinked threat to both MSP and APMC, but putting limits on purchasing.”
The unions pointed out that the government is running away from its duty to public procurement and it is expected that it will keep reducing the share of its purchase to create large space for private traders because farmers do not have a stocking system and the unsold product will go to waste if the government doesn’t buy it.
Jagmohan argued that given the high proportion of tenants, it is impossible that every farmer can submit their land records. He said the government already has the land records of the villages with its revenue officers.