At the Mercy of Traders


Photo by Raghav

Takhr had sown black mustard and wheat on his 3 hectare land near Gang Canal, 35 km from the India-Pakistan border. The wheat he harvested using a combine harvester, but the black mustard he had to harvest himself because the lockdown affected labour supply. The yield has been good this year, but expenses too have risen.

Diesel tariffs have been revised by Rs 6 in the past two weeks, increasing his expenses. Takhr is expecting to earn Rs 1.25 lakh this season, expenses included. Procurement in his area will begin on May 3. Medium-sized landowners like Takhr get little help from the state. They are forced to approach traders for loans on personal expenses such as marriages and are compelled to sell their produce to these traders because they find the MSP selection criteria too cumbersome.

“We have to repay the money soon after the harvest because we need more money for the next crop, cotton, which is less profitable. We will end up selling mustard for Rs 3,700-3,800 instead of the MSP of Rs 4,450 per quintal, and wheat at Rs 1,800 (MSP Rs 1,925 per quintal). If we refuse to sell at this rate, the traders will gang upon us,” says Takhr.

The government had allowed farmers to sell directly to food processing units, but later, under pressure from the traders, restricted their buying to a maximum of 10 trolleys per day.

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About the author: Sohom Das
Founder of Tuccho.

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