The Bajra (Millet) producing farmers of Rajasthan are facing a loss of up to Rs 900-1000 per quintal as there is no MSP (minimum support price) procurement of the crop in the state till now. The issue is heating up as the neighbouring state Haryana is not only procuring it but giving price differences to the Bajra producing farmers.
Rajasthan is the largest producer of Bajra, producing half of the total Bajra production in the country, but the state government has not started the procurement till now.
The MSP of Bajra is Rs 2,250 and the comprehensive cost of cultivation of Bajra stands at Rs 1,549 per quintal, while the farmers are getting between Rs 1,100 to Rs 1,300 for their produce, so in comparison of MSP the loss is about Rs 1000 per quintal and if one takes cost in consideration, the farmers are losing Rs 250 to Rs 450 per quintal.
'It is an issue that arises every year but no government whether it is of BJP or Congress is willing to solve it. If the government does not want to procure it then why it declares the MSP,’ asks Rampal Jat, the president of Kisan Mahapanchyat. He said that the government should give at least a price difference to the farmers so that they can cover their losses.
The opposition BJP is also demanding procurement. The state spokesperson of the party Ramlal Sharma said ‘the central government is ready to procure but the state government is not sending its consent letter and thousands of farmers are facing huge losses.’
There is one more reason for farmers anguish. Till last year, the farmers of Rajasthan used to go to Haryana to sell their Bajra crop but this year, after a recent policy change, the outside farmers cannot sell their crop in Haryana as it is giving price difference to the farmers.
Notably, despite being the largest producer of Bajra, the Rajasthan government is reluctant in procuring it as it is not included in the PDS (public distribution system). The official sources say that if the state government includes Bajara in PDS then the Central government will cut the quota of Wheat for the state and government cannot afford it as the consumption of Bajra is limited to the western part of the state and it is weather specific also, mostly consumed in winters.
‘The state government should procure and promote the use of Bajra as it is good for health and it should be included in PDS,’ said Badri Choudhary, the national general secretary of Bhartiya Kisan Sangh.
‘ The procurement is a policy decision that has to be taken by the government as there are so many factors associated with it so I cannot comment on this,’ said Navin Jain, the government secretary of the food department in the state.