By Express News Service
BHAWANIPATNA: Even as three lakh quintal maize is expected to be harvested in Kalahandi district this year, absence of market yards and intervention by the Government has the farmers worried. The State Government has fixed the minimum support price (MSP) for maize during the kharif season at Rs 1,850 per quintal, which is Rs 90 more than last year. But there are no market yards in the district where the farmers can sell their produce.
Under such circumstances, the farmers have no option but to rely on private traders, who are offering Rs 1,200-Rs 1,300 per quintal to farmers against Rs 1,800-Rs 2,000 per quintal last year. The farmers are now waiting for a better deal by the traders.
Maize is grown on around 20,000 hectare land in Kesinga, Thuamul Rampur, Lanjigarh and Narla blocks of the district. The crop was hit by pest attack earlier this year but timely intervention by the Agriculture department helped the farmers from suffering losses. Despite the initial setback, the yield has been encouraging.
Sources said at Gokuleswar village of Kesinga block, the yield has been an impressive 39-50 quintal per hectare. However, absence of proper drying space, market yards and intervention by agencies like ORMAS remains a cause of concern for the farmers. With the start of harvesting season, tonnes of maize can be seen heaped on roads or hillocks near villages for drying.
Lalit Sabar of Gokuleswar said he has harvested 40 quintal maize from his 2.5 acre land by investing Rs 14,000 per acre. But, absence of drying yard has forced him to leave his crop on the road for drying.
“In the absence of an agency to coordinate with the farmers for helping them sell their produce, we are at the mercy of private traders,” he said.
ORMAS, Kalahandi chief executive officer George Kerketta said market linkage remains an issue for maize growers and the need of the hour is to set up producer groups. Such groups can help farmers get a better price for their produce.
3 lakh quintal maize yield expected in the district this year
MSP of the crop fixed at Rs 1,850 per quintal
Rs 1,200-Rs 1,300 per quintal offered by traders
20k acre under maize cultivation