Nagpur: Remember how high retail price of Tur dal had risen last year? This is the most popular dal of all Indians: Maharashtrians make ‘waran’ out of it, south Indians use it for making ‘sambar’ and rassam and this is the dal predominantly used in ‘dal tadka’. Any Indian meal is therefore incomplete without ‘tur’.
And when the rates of this commodity hit sky high – going above Rs. 150/ and Rs. 200/ a Kg even, people naturally start blaming the government of the day.
In reaction to this, in 2015 and 2016 the state government encouraged farmers of Maharashtra to go in for more and more of Tur farming.
Farming of this commodity – Tur – will fetch you handsome returns on your investment and provide much needed nutrition by way of protein to consumers, agriculturists were told.
Globally also, 2016 had been declared the ‘world pulses year’.
Thus there was a glut of tur in the markets this year. The Minimum Support Price that Maharashtra government had promised was Rs. 5050 per quintal. (Rs. 4625/ + bonus Rs.424/ = Rs. 5050/).
This is actually not such an attractive price by itself.
“A farmer invests almost Rs. 5000/ in growing one quintal produce, so the MSP was barely covering our costs. But there was also the hope that market price could go higher than MSP, since it had touched Rs.10,000/ last year. Thus, there would be no loss in any eventuality. This calculation led me to sow Tur in my entire 9 acre farm” says Diliprao, an educated farmer of Vidarbha. Last year, in this farm, he had sowed only cotton, no tur at all.
He is now ruing the decision since the government is not honouring its decision of the MSP.
“Sometime the govt. officers are saying there is so place to store it, sometime they claim they lack ‘bardhana’ – sacks to store!” He says.
When government refuses to purchase, the traders and the open market are the only recourse.
Tur rates have fallen to Rs. 3700 per quintal in many markets of Latur, Parbhani, Washim. What is worse is that the traders, after buying from farmers at this rate, then sell to government at MSP of 5050/ !
Another reason for glut in the market is the ideal weather conditions that prevailed this year leading to glut of Tur.
There were no hail storms – which destroy 100% of standing crops, nor was there excessive moisture in the air, which can be harmful.
But what nature has bestowed is being taken away by govt.not walking the talk!
The role of APMCs – Agricultural Produce Market Committees – is also suspect in this. They are the agency the farmers look to for ensuring fair price.
Angry farmers are not in a mood to co operate and may indulge in striking or agitations if this continues.
This is but natural. Look at these facts:
2015-2016 – Area under Tur – 12.37 lakh hectares
Production of tur last year – 4.44 lakh tons
2016 – 2017 Area under Tur – 15.33 lakh hectare
Production this year – 11.71 lakh tons!!!
Till January 2017, government has bought only 28,000 tons in the market. Imagine the quantity left with farmers?