Slump in Sunflower Seed, Maize and Potato Prices Bring Haryana Farmers to the Streets

  • Sunflower cultivation is popular in Kurkshetra, Ambala, Yamunanagar and Panchkula districts
  • Haryana started procuring sunflower seeds a minimum support price (MSP) two years ago.
  • The current MSP is Rs 3,950 a quintal.
  • Sunflower seed procurement is limited to 25 percent of the state’s produce and 25 quintals per cultivator, farmers say, though there is no official confirmation of this.
  • MSP for maize is Rs 1,365 a quintal.
  • The market price of sunflower seeds has been below MSP for the past four years, Shahabad wholesale market data shows.
  • The market price of maize has been lower than MSP for three of the past four years.
  • Sunflower seed prices have fallen because of imports. They grew 28.2 percent in 2015-16 over the previous year, which itself saw an increase of 59.2 percent.
  • Import duty on sunflower seed was reduced from 30 percent to 10 percent earlier this year.
  • The MSP of maize is Rs 1,365 a quintal. But the Haryana government is unlikely to procure it.  It has never procured maize.
  • Maize is selling for Rs 1,100 a quintal.

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Sayantan Bera of Mint reports:

  • A farmer in Mangoli in Kurukshetra sold 4,300 kg of potatoes on 25 May for Rs 900. After deducting labour charges and agent’s fees he was left with Rs 380, that is, a price of nine paise a kg.
  • At Azadpur mandi in Delhi, just 150 km away, potatoes are selling for Rs 5 a kg.
  • A 7 percent increase in potato output has caused a crash in prices.
  • Though Shahabad mandi is on eNAM no inter-or intra-state sale of farm produce takes place on the electronic platform.
  • The assaying lab is not being used because there are no operators. Traders physically inspect theproduce before buying it.
  • One Karnail Singh of Mangoli, took 10 acres of land on lease for Rs 42,000 per acre to grow potatoes, lured by high prices last year. By his reckoning he has lost Rs 9 lakh in just one season.

(Photo of a farmer in Punjab’s Nawanshahr contemplating his wasted potato harvest in 2015. By Vivian Fernandes).

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