Officials of the Punjab Mandi Board falling prices of basmati after starting at Rs 2,400 per quintal. Basmati prices crash as early arrival peaks in Punjab Mandis.
Basmati Prices Crash
Farmers of Punjab’s Majha region, the hub of basmati crop in the state, complain that despite the all-time high price of basmati in the international market, they are not getting better prices. The crop fetched around Rs. 2,500 per quintal last year is now being bought within a range of Rs. 1,650- 1800 per quintal.
A senior officer in PMB mentioned the effect of the recent ordinance on the prices. He said that exporters are offering a less price because they do not have to pay 4.50% taxes this time as per the regulation. Besides, the government has not refunded their previous years’ taxes. Hence, exporters are deducting this 4.5%, cutting farmers’ margin. The early variety (1509) arrival has started pouring in the Mandis while the late ones (1121, 1718) will come in October.
Situation will Become the Same for Other Crops- Farmers
President of the Federation of Arhtiya Association, Vijay Kalra, Punjab also accounted for the presence of moisture in the grain for the low price offered. Besides, several exporters claim that prices are low due to COVID-19. That apart, farmers complain that as the government does not buy basmati, the private players come together and offer the cost as per their wish. The situation will become the same for other crops as well once the agriculture bills come into existence.
Exporters not Buying Basmati Yet- PRMEA
On the other hand, Ashok Sethi, Director, Punjab Rice Millers, and Exporters Association asserted that exporters are demanding a complete waive of the Market Committee Fee and Rural Development Fund (RDF) by the Punjab government. Moreover, the Punjab government has not refunded Rs 200 crore pending amount of these taxes for the past few years. Subsequently, the exporters are not purchasing any basmati.
In all, the department of agriculture in Punjab has worked hard to encourage the cultivation of less water consuming basmati. However, its gain will wear off owing to the fluctuation of basmati prices.