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My dear friends: Let’s say all goes well for us and we have a good harvest. Will it bring prosperity in our lives? Will the harvested crop turn into money? Till date nobody has been able to give us a definite answer on this.

In areas like the delta regions our farmers know how to get good harvests. In the past, this worked well, but in the last few decades, after government announced procurement from us, things have soured. Buy back is more like giving out dolls to us, a dead procedure to humiliate rather than support us. The Minimum Support Price (MSP) announced by the government has or is never paid in full till date anywhere.

Why is this? Simple, corruption is rampant in the system which has tightened its grip over time. Farmers need to sell their produce immediately after harvest and in India facilities for storage are practically non-existent. Such facilities are on paper and spoken during a minister’s visit or during elections.

Both procurement and market folks are aware of this and exploit us fully. They know we are left with little choice but to sell. Traders tell us our grain has not dried enough and cannot be bought immediately – a ruse to beat down the prices. Those who purchase our grains seem to work as a cartel – they all parrot the same line. Another phrase they throw at us is: “Too light, not fulfilling the standards set by the government.”

It is not uncommon to find that private traders operate in cahoots with officials at government procurement agencies. No farmer hires a tractor and makes trips to multiple procurement centres with their grain to get the best deal for themselves. The reason is that agriculture is a tiresome, physically exhausting work. Delays make the farmer bleed. So many just choose the easier option: grease the palms at the procurement centers or agree to whatever price is on offer.

Storage at government procurement centers comes at a price. There is daily rent to be paid. Delays in selling his produce make a farmer desperate and he is willing to sell it at a throwaway price. This is when traders make a killing by offering to purchase from him. We all have gone through this

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