Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the Centre has procured 1.92 lakh tonnes of gram and tur dal and 1.83 lakh tonnes of mustard seeds, totalling 3.75 lakh tonnes under the Price Support Scheme (PSS), according to the Agriculture Ministry. The PSS is operationalised on state governments' request when prices fall below the minimum support price (MSP).
The procurement is undertaken by nodal agencies like Nafed at minimum support price (MSP). Only fair average quality commodity is purchased.
However in view of COVID-19 pandemic, the daily procurement limit has been increased from 25 quintals to 40 quintals per day under the PSS for rabi crops.
In a statement, the ministry said PSS has been operationalised for procurement of pulses and oilseeds growing in the rabi season of 2019-20 crop year (July-June) in seven states -- Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Among pulses, about 72,415 tonnes of gram (chana) have been procured from five states -- Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
About 1.20 lakh tonnes of tur dal has been procured from seven states -- Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Odisha.
In case of oilseeds, the Centre has purchased 1.83 lakh tonnes of mustard seed from three states -- Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the ministry said.
As per the second estimate of the ministry, pulses and oilseeds output during 2019 rabi season has been pegged at 15.11 million tonnes and 10.75 million tonnes, respectively.
According to the ministry, standard operating protocol (SOP) related to crop harvesting and threshing is being adhered to by farmers and workers.
States have been asked to ensure compliance of SOP in order to protect the health of farmers and farm workers and contain the spread of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, wheat harvesting across the country is continuing at a brisk pace amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.
As reported by the states, nearly 99 per cent of wheat crop has been harvested in Madhya Pradesh, 92-95 per cent in Rajasthan, 85-88 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, 55-60 per cent in Haryana, 60-65 per cent in Punjab and 87-88 per cent in other states so far.
The ministry also said that the National Horticulture Board (NHB) has uploaded on its website the availability of planting material from its 618 accredited nurseries to help farmers buy good planting material for the ensuing sowing season of kharif crops.