Two days after The Assam Tribune reported how the Minimum Support Price (MSP) was eluding farmers of Assam, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday reviewed the existing mechanism in a bid to remove the bottlenecks and give shape to a simpler procedure for farmers to sell their produce to government agencies.
Reiterating that his government is committed to provide Rs 1,868 MSP of paddy to farmers of the state, Sonowal observed that the method for selling the produce by farmers and procuring paddy and other essentials by the government should be simpler and devoid of any procedural difficulties.
Chairing a meeting to discuss modalities to strengthen the supply chain of paddy procurement of the state, Sonowal asked the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs department and the Agriculture department to review the existing system.
He also requested the farmers to sell the produce to government-authorised agencies including the Food Corporation of India for the government to ensure MSP to the farmers.
Recognising the role of the FCI in paddy procurement, Sonowal asked FCI executive director Manoj Kumar Gogoi to increase paddy procurement centres beyond the existing 39 centres in the state. He said that since the farmers grow their produce in rural areas, there must be procurement centres at the village level.
He asked the FCI to set up procurement centres in each development block which would also act as selling points for the farmers.
Stating that growth of agriculture is dependent on production, procurement and marketing, Sonowal also spoke on development of rural infrastructure to facilitate procurement and marketing of the produce of the farmers.
The Chief Minister also asked the FCI to set up procurement and selling points in the Barak Valley on priority basis. He flagged several issues with the FCI to fine tune the production, procurement and marketing of the agricultural produce and revamp the supply chain of the sector. Sonowal also asked Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Rajesh Prasad to integrate the components of infrastructural development of agriculture in the rural areas with Chief Minister Samagra Grammya Unnayan Yojana.