GUWAHATI, Jan 19 - The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, Union Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare today voiced concern over the non-remunerative prices Assam�s farmers were getting and asked the State government to put in place a mechanism involving proper storage facilities and market linkage for addressing the farmers� problems.
The Commission observed this at the meeting on �Agricultural costs and prices for the northeastern region� here today. The meeting will conclude tomorrow.
Today�s session on �Kharif crop price policy and oil palm� was chaired by Prof Vijay Paul Sharma, chairman of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices.
Taking note of the constraints faced by the State�s farmers, Sharma laid stress on the need for creating an institutional mechanism like mandis with integrated facilities for ensuring remunerative prices for the farmers. He said that better storage facilities were a need of the hour and storage needed modern technology �and not merely godowns � to maintain the quality of produce and also to ensure that the consumers got a real taste of quality food.
Farmers who took part in the meet bemoaned the lack of initiative from the Food Corporation of India (FCI), accusing it of not procuring rice from the farmers under the pretext of excessive moisture content. They also alleged that the FCI did not have adequate rice procurement centres and the system was conductive to the working of the middle men. The FCI representative, however, said that it had 40 centres which was adequate and that other issues would be resolved with cooperation from all concerned.
Earlier in his welcome address, MS Manivannan, Secretary and Director, State Agriculture Department, said that despite being a rice surplus State, the farmers were not getting remunerative prices. He added that it was a challenge for the Agriculture Department and that the deliberations during the meet would help devise a mechanism to ensure remunerative prices for the farmers.
The meet was attended by officials and other representatives from Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, FCI, Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board, Rice Millers Association, etc.
Secretary of the State Food and Civil Suppliers Department, S Hazarika, said that a comprehensive package incorporating two-three top paddy-producing districts for providing all facilities to the farmers would be implemented on �mission mode� soon.
Sailaza Sarma, Member Secretary of the Cost and Prices Commission, also attended the meet.