Haryana: Farmers feel the pinch as traders, exporters go on strike - Hindustan Times
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Haryana: Farmers feel the pinch as traders, exporters go on strike

By, Karnal
Oct 16, 2023 06:10 AM IST

Amarjit Chhabra, state president of the Haryana Rice Millers and Dealers Association, said, “The procurement has been suspended by the rice exporters against the government’s decision of retaining the US $1,200 per tonne, which is not justified as most of the rice is being export below US $900 per tonne”

Basmati growers of Haryana feel the pinch after the private rice traders decided not to procure paddy over the Centre’s decision to maintain the minimum export price (MEP) cap of US $1,200 ( 99,935) per tonne. On the call of the All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA), the rice traders have decided to boycott the procurement operations from Sunday, forcing the farmers to guard their produce in the mandis.

Since there was no procurement in the mandis of Haryana on Sunday, there were reports that the rice traders received a positive note from the government that their demand to bring the MEP to US $850 ( <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>70,788) was under active consideration. (HT Photo)
Since there was no procurement in the mandis of Haryana on Sunday, there were reports that the rice traders received a positive note from the government that their demand to bring the MEP to US $850 ( 70,788) was under active consideration. (HT Photo)

“I did not get any buyer to sell my produce of three acres. We were told that the traders were not buying paddy and I have to stay in the mandi until my paddy is sold,” said an elderly farmer, Balkar Singh, waiting for traders to buy his produce at Kaithal grain market.

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Another farmer, Hakam Singh, said he had brought the pusa 1,847 of three acres in the mandi on Saturday evening but there was no auction on Sunday and hundreds of farmers were waiting in mandis to sell their crops.

Amarjit Chhabra, state president of the Haryana Rice Millers and Dealers Association, said, “The procurement has been suspended by the rice exporters against the government’s decision of retaining the US $1,200 per tonne, which is not justified as most of the rice is being export below US $900 per tonne.”

“There is a huge gap between the prices of the international market and the MEP fixed by the government, and at this price, the traders will not be able to get buyers that is why they are not purchasing paddy,” he added.

The prices of the premium basmati varieties like moochal, pusa 1121 and pusa 1718 had reached around 4,200 a quintal in the past week while the lower graded pusa 1509 and 1692 were being sold for around 3,500.

The development has come as a setback to the farmers as now they were not getting any buyers of their produce in the mandis and they are fearing that this may lead to a fall in the prices of all basmati varieties.

Terming the Union government’s decision as backstabbing, AIREA former president Vija Setia said the move will not only cause huge losses to the farmers and rice traders of the country, but it will help the traders of Pakistan to dominate the international market.

“The situation is now worsening in all mandi yards in northern India as exporters and millers are not in a position to buy paddy. Our rival Pakistan has a huge area under basmati crop and they will take over the entire market in the absence of Indian exporters,” he said, adding that nobody can persuade the buyers to purchase rice at 100 per kg while it was available at 65 per kg.

Since there was no procurement in the mandis of Haryana on Sunday, there were reports that the rice traders received a positive note from the government that their demand to bring the MEP to US $850 ( 70,788) was under active consideration. However, the rice exporters demanded that the decision should be taken immediately in the interest of farmers and traders.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Neeraj Mohan is a correspondent, covering Karnal, Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Panipat and Yamunanagar districts of Haryana.

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