Nagpur: While the rest of the state is all set for a dazzling, sparkling Diwali all the Soyabean farmers of the state, most of them from Vidarbha face the prospect of a bleak Diwali with their soyabean produce not being sold.
Unless they sell their Kharif produce by September/ October a farmer has no liquid cash in hand to prepare for the biggest festival of the year, Diwali. In rural Maharashtra, they are very particular about things that have to be done for each festival. Diwali means new clothes for family – perhaps that is the only time of the year when they purchase clothes. Five kinds of sweet and savory delicacies have to be made for Godess Laxmi and the house given a white wash in honour of her coming. Sisters have to be given gifts for ‘bhaubeej’. Without money in hand he cannot do anything.
There is simmering anger and frustration among most farmers of Vidarbha since many of them have turned from cotton and even paddy to soyabean. It is considered the ‘poor farmer’s crop’ since not much fertilizers or pesticides have to be sprayed. If rains have been satisfactory, even average there is a good yield. This year has already been troublesome for soyabean due to unseasonal rains in September – October and C.M. had himself promised the distressed farmers that a Minimum Support Price of Rs. 2740/ per quintal would be given. Fadnavis made the declaration of the MSP some time ago but now farmers who try to sell their produce to government authorities are realizing that no official notice or order for purchase has reached at the rural level.
As farmer leader Gajanan Dhage narrates – “I got a yield of 40 sacks of soyabean this year. I dried it well in the farm before harvesting and packing, so there is no moisture or fungus. A private trader offered me up to Rs. 2600 but I refused to pay since govt. declared MSP was marginally higher. The CM had given a personal assurance to that effect.
So I asked the Tehsildar to buy my produce. After waiting for a reply for two days I took my produce to him myself. He discussed the matter with District authorities and finally told me that there is no official direction to purchase. He could not do anything. Authorities have to wake up and take action before 28th when Diwali begins.”
Many farmers point out that before Central and State elections leaders like Modi and Fadnavis had made many tall promises to them to win elections.
One of the main assurance had been that as per the Swaminathan commission recommendations MSP on all major crops would be doubled.
Forget about it being doubled the price per quintal for soyabean has come down from Rs. 4300 to an average of 2200.
Are all leaders/ politicians so concentrated on forthcoming elections in 5 states that they have no time for fulfilling assurances made to farmers – rural India is wondering.