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Tuesday, Oct 04, 2005

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Nafed to procure cotton, soya at support prices

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Oct. 3

THE National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) expects to procure 5-8 lakh bales (170 kg each) of cotton and 2.5 lakh tonnes of soyabean this year as part of the Centre's market intervention operations.

Based on the inputs from various State Government officials at the inter-State conference on price support scheme, the Nafed Managing Director, Mr Alok Ranjan, said: "There is unlikely to be much procurement under the price support scheme except for cotton in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, apart from soyabean and mustard to some extent."

Nafed has begun procuring cotton from October 2 in Punjab.

Last year, it procured 39,000 bales after being nominated the procurement agency for cotton along with Cotton Corporation of India.

While the total cotton procurement by other agencies was expected in the range of 20 lakh bales, Nafed was expected to procure 5-8 lakh bales, said the Nafed Additional Managing Director, Mr Jagmohan Bhanot.

Meanwhile, the Punjab State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation (Markfed) Managing Director, Mr S.S. Channy, speaking to the Nafed Chairman, called for relaxing the fair average quality (FAQ) norms for cotton since the crop was damaged following widespread rains.

The Government procures crops at MSP at certain quality levels called the FAQ levels, as decided by the Union Government. Mr Channy, however, said in the second picking of cotton in Punjab, one could expect better quality.

Prices of other pulses and oilseeds are expected to rule higher than the MSP by and large, thus negating the need for Nafed to procure.

Mr Ranjan said there could be few exceptions. "There could be a need to procure about 2.5 lakh tonnes of soyabean in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Similarly, groundnut may need to be procured from Uttar Pradesh," he said, adding that these were tentative estimates.

On mustard/rapeseed, Mr Ranjan said Nafed had invited bids from private oil manufacturers to process 4 lakh tonnes of mustardseed. "The processed crude (kuchchi) mustard oil would be sold in the eastern region including Kolkata, Bihar and Guwahati.''

With a stock of 20 lakh tonnes of rapeseed/mustard, at present Nafed is offloading 2,000 tonnes a day at a rate of Rs 1,665-1,685 a quintal. It has procured 20.93 lakh tonnes of mustard this year at Rs 1,700. The 4-lakh tonnes of mustard seed are likely to be sourced from Rajasthan since the maximum quantity (14 lakh tonnes) was procured in Rajasthan.

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