Poor prices for rabi crops at markets bode ill for farmers 

#GS3 #Agriculture #PandemicManagement  

  • Arrivals of wheat, mustard and other major rabi crops at markets during the first two weeks of April were more than 90% lower than during the corresponding period last year.  
  • Fruit farmers have been hit the hardest with prices down 9%, despite 85% fall in arrivals.  
  • The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the rabi or winter season harvest has been brutal, despite government efforts to facilitate agricultural activities.   
  • The CRISIL research showed that only one lakh tonnes of major rabi crops — wheat, gram, rapeseed and mustard — arrived in mandis between April 1 to 12, 98% less than the 51 lakh tonnes that arrived in mandis during the same period in 2019.  
  • While there are four primary reasons for this — delayed rabi harvest, labour shortage, lack of transport, and reduced mandi operations — grains are also said to be hoarded by farmers/traders to be sold at a later date when mandi operations and logistics normalise.   
  • The main wheat producing areas of Punjab and Haryana had not yet begun harvesting during this period. Mandi prices for these crops were about 29% higher than the previous year.   
  • The arrivals of pulses and oilseeds were also 93% lower than the previous year, while prices were 28% higher.   
  • The situation is slightly better with regard to winter paddy and coarse grains with a 68% drop in arrivals. However, prices are also down about 2%, due to a drop in demand for coarse grains.  
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