Imphal: Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Minister. Leishangthem Susindro Meitei chaired a public meeting on the procurement of locally produced Paddy (Phou) by farmers of Manipur for distribution under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
The meeting held Monday at Manipur State Film Development Society Auditorium (MSFDS) Konung Mamang, Imphal was organized by Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution (CAF&PD), Government of Manipur
Addressing the gathering, CAF&PD Minister, Susindro Meitei said that the procurement of the paddy locally produced is the first step taken up by N. Biren Singh-led government for the future welfare of the farmers. Minister stated that he has been pursuing the state government since his initiation as Minister of the Department. The FCI officials have come for a survey for the procurement process considering the norms of the FCI department, he added.
Minister further added that the first step is to create a relationship between the Government and the farmers of the State. The State government will procure the paddy through the district officers and also the women traders who are in this business from time immemorial for their livelihood after forming syndicates in their respective localities according to the rate fixed by the government. The government has to fix a rate at this juncture and it is necessary to make the traders aware of the criteria needed for procurement.
Minister appealed to the farmers to have faith in the steps taken up by the government as it has made a commitment to making the project successful. The state government will make necessary arrangements to solve the problems faced by the farmers. There will be a modification in the irrigation system for successful farming in the state through the irrigation projects taken up by the government. Double and triple cropping will ultimately be taken up after the success of the first step.
Stating that a collective approach of various government departments is necessary for the execution of the project, the Minister asked for cooperation of the departments and the farmers for successful achievement of the project for the first step on procurement of the paddy. The interest of the women traders of the state will also be taken into account for the achievement of the project, he added.
Manager (Movement), FCI, Govt. of India, Y. Robindro Singh, gave a detailed account on the feasibility of the procurement process of the Food Corporation of India. He said that the Central Government extends price support to wheat and paddy through FCI and State Agencies. The crops identified by the government is procured at Minimum Support Price (MSP) under the Indian Government policy. The process considers the cost of production, demand and supply, international rate and the living standard of the farmers.
He added that Government agencies undertake MSP operations at mandis/temporary purchase centres/aggregation points. Government intervenes if the MSP is lower than the usual price and purchases the crops temporarily, he added. The procurement system is divided into Centralized and Decentralized procurement systems and the procurement is done according to this system, he added.
Representatives of the farmer organizations deliberated on the feasibility of the procurement of the paddy under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) considering the problems faced by the farmers at present for sufficient supply of paddy in the state.
Commissioner, CAF&PD, Bobby Waikhom; Director, CAF&PD, Robertson Asem; DGM, FCI, Govt. of India, Om Pratap; officials and staff of CAF&PD, representatives of the farmer groups and NGOs attended the public meeting.