Haryana farmers worried about storage, incurring losses

Sukhbir Siwach
Crop improvement through research

Farmer leader Karam Singh Mathana said the government should allow smooth return of crop harvester machines from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. (Representational Image) 

The Haryana government’s announcement to delay procurement of wheat and mustard has made the the agrarian community a worried lot, especially about two factors -- storage of crop and arrangement of finances for their next crop.

Officials said procurement of mustard usually starts from March 15 while wheat is procured from April 1. “In the given circumstances, it’s not even certain whether procurement will take place from April 15 and 20. The government should immediately provide bags and plastic covers to farmers so that they can properly store their mustard and wheat crop,” said Gurnam Singh Chaduni, president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), Haryana.

Sonu Kaliramana, a farmer from Kinala village of Hisar district, told The Indian Express that he has already harvested his mustard crop of three acres. “I have stored it in my house but now I am worried about how I will store my wheat crop.” Kaliramna further says, “In the absence of government procurement, our crops are procured at much lower prices by private players. For example, if I sell my mustard crop to a private player, I would have to face a loss ranging from Rs 600 to Rs 800 per quintal.”

Chaduni said the government should provide Rs 10,000 per acre to farmers as interim relief, which can be adjusted after procurement of their crops. “With this money, the farmers will be able to pay labour during the procurement season apart from meeting other domestic expenses,” he added.

He also said that the government should allow functioning of shops which sell pesticides and fertilisers to farmers. “There is requirement of pesticides and fertilisers for vegetables, sugarcane and sunflower crops,” said Chaduni.

Farmer leader Karam Singh Mathana said the government should allow smooth return of crop harvester machines from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. “As wheat harvesting season takes place early in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, the harvester machines are taken to these states from Haryana and Punjab. Now, the government must ensure that these machines return to Haryana and Punjab so farmers don’t face problems in harvesting their wheat crop here,” he added.

Congress demands 'bonus' for farmers

Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda demanded announcement of a bonus for farmers keeping in view the delay in the procurement of wheat and mustard in the state. In statement on Thursday, Hooda said the government should find out ways to ensure harvesting of crops and their procurement during the lockdown period. “The wheat crop is ready for harvesting, so the farmers can’t wait for its harvesting and procurement for next 21 days,” said Hooda.

Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja on Thursday urged the government to issue detailed guidelines for farmers on "what can they do and what they can’t do during the lockdown period".