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Strategy to be Adopted in Punjab for Harvesting and Procurement of Wheat during Lockdown

Davinder Pal Singh Badwal
Davinder Pal Singh Badwal

The Punjab government will start wheat procurement from April 15 but lockdown and curfew is imposed in the state to avoid spread of COVID-19.The season of wheat harvesting is stared in Punjab. But, due to lockdown conditions, it is not as easy as it was in the previous years. The shortage of labourers, lesser availability of combines, delayed harvest and after that procurement process is a serious issue in Punjab. The quarantine and social distancing due to COVID-19 will leads to lot of problems which is being suffered by farmers as delay in procurement which will also lead to more chances of damage of crop.

Punjab food supplies and consumer affairs minister Bharat Bhushan said that the combine machines coming from different areas of state are not restricted or stopped. Normally, wheat procurement is being completed in state till mid May, but this time it is being extended upto last week of May to first week of June due to the hindrance caused by lockdown.

As, Punjab is known as “Wheat bowl of India”, the state contributes 37% of total wheat procured in India. The Punjab Government has proposed to give each farmer an incentive of Rs.100 per quintal of wheat if they bring their crop to mandis after May1. In case some of farmers bring their crop after 31 May, an incentive of Rs.200 per quintal will be offered on MSP. The farmers bringing produce between April 15 and 30 will get the already announced MSP Rs.1925 per quintal.

The principal of social distancing is challenging in view of COVID spread in mandis in the state. There is thousands of farmers, labourers, government officials and commission agents (Arhtia) are involved in process of procurement of crop. So, to avoid the spread of COVID and maintaining with social distancing and preventive measures will be a serious issue in mandis.

Chief Minister Capt. Amrinder Singh also reviewed proposal of curfew passes to farmers could be issued to visit mandis in small numbers. Harvest combines would be allowed to operate in fields by April 15 onwards.  The trucks would also be permitted in couple of days Arrangements of sanitisation of mandis and distribution of masks to officials  and  procurement agency officials and farmers (through arhtiyas) were also being done.

There would not be any problem in harvesting, transportation and procurement process. So, I am giving the stratergic plan on harvesting and procurement process in Punjab.

  • The list should be prepared by Deputy commissioners with the help of agriculture department about  number of mandis in respective block and district, numbers of combines required, no. of  labourers required.

  • All the villages should be divided to clusters and pools, selected villages have a schedule to reach nearest mandis, to reduce huge gatherings.

  • Combines should be allowed to operate from 10th April as passes issued by CAO.

  • Manual harvesting should be allowed from 13th

  • Farmer passes to be issued by Secretary, MARKET COMMITTEE through Arhtiya in phased manner from a point to point.

  • Fixed number of Mandi passes should be issued to Arhtiyas.

  • Market Committee should issue Mandi Passes to labourers (from home to mandi and return only).

  • The truck operators should get passes for loading and unloading of bags of grains, issued by DM of procurement agency.

  • There should be reimbursement package to incentivise farmers for delayed procurement an incentive of 100 per quintal after May 1st and  of Rs.200 per quintal will be offered after 31 May on MSP.

  • The principal of social distancing in view of COVID spread in mandis is being strictly implemented by farmers, labouerers.

Author details

Davinder Pal Singh Badwal

Department of Agricultural Sciences,

Sant Baba Bhag Singh University, Khiala , Jalandhar, Punjab144030, India

Correspondance Author: dpsrsgk@gmail.com

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