Source: The Hindu :-
The government will start a pilot project to help farmers sell grains through online platforms such as the National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange in two Gram Panchayats in Bidar district. The district administration has achieved significant success with its experiment to sell sugar seized from factories at a price higher than the market price.
The Gram Panchayats of Mannalli in Bidar and Telgaon in Bhalki taluk will be registered as sellers on online platforms. They will encourage farmers to store their produce in village godowns, and sell when they feel the price is right.
As a first step, the zilla panchayat will collect the details of types and quantities of crops grown in each hobli, or a group of gram panchayats. Officials will also study the market trends of the crop and its varieties, since market records have been maintained in the district.
The second step would involve construction of godowns or storage units in each of the 186 Gram Panchayats. Work on building 145 godowns, each of 60-tonne capacity, under MNREGA, is under progress. These will be built according to international parameters with pest- and snake-resistant platforms and minimal ventilation to contain moisture variations and fungus attacks. They will also be provided with a computer and an internet connection.
Modern silos to store grains scientifically will be built in each of the 30 hobli headquarters, using funds available under Backward Region Grant Fund. These will have larger capacity to store grains, compared to village-level godowns.
Two workshops on how to sell foodgrains on NCDEX will be held for Panchayat Development Officers, and officers of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee and Agriculture Department and farmers in the select GPs.
Some of the grains will also be procured locally, says Deputy Commissioner Anurag Tewari. Red gram was sown on around 50,000 hectares in the district and the yield is expected to cross 77,000 tonnes this year. The district administration plans to buy all the red gram needed in anganwadis and primary schools, locally. This would be processed in the mills in the district and supplied through the mid-day meal scheme, according to the DC.
Around three lakh tonnes of green gram has been harvested in the district, but the farmers have not got a fair price. Around 25,000 tonnes of black gram and around 3 lakh tonnes of soya is expected to be grown this Kharif. "If the online sales system starts functioning properly in one month, we can provide competitive prices to all these crops," the DC said.
At a meeting on Monday, Mr. Anurag Tewari said the project would be extended to the whole district if it succeeds. Pawan Kumar Malpati, ZP chief executive officer, said the panchayats will create awareness among farmers about online sale of farm produce. This will empower them and help escape from the clutches of middlemen, he said.
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