Chennai: Paddy farmers of Tamil Nadu are confused and divided over the entry of National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF), a body under Ministry of Consumer Affairs of the Central Government, for procurement of paddy. Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies department has allowed the procurement of paddy only from non-delta districts in the state.
While NCCF has been in the procurement of paddy since 2016 -17 in Tamil Nadu, the procurement touched an all-time high during the current year. Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies authorities told IANS that the NCCF procured 10.3 per cent of the total paddy procured in the state.
According to TNSC officials, as on October 1, 3.35 lakh tonnes of paddy were procured in the state of which NCCF contributed 34,479 tonnes of paddy.
Paddy farmers are confused over the presence of intermediaries in the procurement by NCCF and these intermediaries, according to the farmers were quite rigid in dealing with the farmers.
M.C. Ponvelu, a Paddy farmer told IANS that NCCF has procured 35 tonnes of his paddy and has informed him that he will be paid in 15 days’ time as against the one-week payment time of the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation. The farmer also said that he does not have any idea about whom he should represent if the payment was not done in fifteen days.
The farmer said that there was no consultation at the local level before NCCF commenced massive procurement of paddy and farmer representatives were not included in the oversight committee for procurement of paddy. Ponvelu also said that while at present the NCCF is allowed procurement of paddy from non-delta districts, it may not be far off when delta farmers are also brought under the paddy procurement loop.
However, some farmers told IANS that the amount of money paid by them as informal charges to lorry drivers and local level players has come down in a big way.