The Agriculture technology management agency (ATMA) has initiated government procurement centres for buying farm produce to help farmers dispose of their yields in a better way. Nine such centres have been opened at the taluka level of the Aurangabad district in Marathwada, said agriculture department officials.
The centres have been opened at the Agriculture produce marketing committee (APMC), where farmers will be able to sell their produce to the government at a decided price. The government will then forward the produce to the National agricultural cooperative marketing federation of India limited (NAFED), which will use it for domestic purpose or experts.
"Last year, it was observed that farmers did not receive the decided prices set by the government, because of more moisture content in their foodgrain. They had to compromise as taking the produce back, drying it and coming back was not a feasible option," Satish Shiradkar, divisional statistician at ATMA, told TOI on Monday.
Shiradkar said that the rates also fall back as surplus produce reaches the market at a single time. "The farmers do not have ample space to store the grains and choose to sell in the open market immediately to make provisions for the next crop, even if it is at a lower rate than the government-specified one," he said.
The scheme is a protective mechanism for the farmers, where they can be sure to get the right rates. By offering a safe scheme, it is ensured that traders do not exploit farmers and buy the produce as per the chalked-out rates, Shiradkar said.
The agency has also made arrangements to provide godowns to store grains. "The process of acquiring existing godowns is now being carried out and the farmers will be able to store the grains and thus choose to sell them as and when desired, or according to the market needs," Shiradkar said.
Farmers will be able to use these storage facilities at Rs 2.40 per month. "Farmers will be given 70% of the price of the foodgrains, which can be used to purchase equipment and seeds for the next crop. Foodgrains stored can be sold as and when the farmer desires. The government will ensure the protection of foodgrains, "Shiradkar said.
Vishwas Palimkar, co-ordinator of the Maharashtra agricultural competitiveness project (MACP), said that efforts are also being taken to promote group farming. Around 3, 223 farmer groups have been formed in the region to transport, sell and share technology and agriculture expenses.