Peanut Market News June 14, 2018
Says the central agency should have flagged malpractices to State much earlier
Rubbishing allegations levelled by the Nafed chairman about the dubious role of the State and local procurement agencies in groundnut procurement, Gujarat Agriculture Minister RC Faldu faulted Nafed for failing in its duty to manage the procurement effectively and not speaking up against the wrong-doings in time.
At a press conference in Ahmedabad, the Gujarat Agriculture Minister also objected to the Nafed chief’s recent complaint about the role of the officials at procurement centres and warehouses.
“For over eight months, when the procurement process was underway, you did not draw the attention of the State government towards any wrong-doing. Now, you complain of malpractices and allege a cover-up by State agencies by setting warehouses on fire. Your comments about the State and local agencies are irresponsible and unfortunate. You are making false statements to run away from your responsibilities,” said Faldu in a letter addressed to NAFED chairman VR Patel.
Faldu also hit out at the Central agency saying that firstly it did not open an adequate number of procurement centres when groundnut arrivals were at their peak, and later, when the State government extended its support by roping in local agencies, they started trading allegations.
Eye on polls?
Patel had alleged that in the rush before the Assembly elections in December 2017, the State government hurriedly allotted procurement centres to agencies that were incapable of conducting or monitoring the procurement processes.
Faldu clarified that the State had no role in the process of procurement as Nafed was mandated by the Centre to conduct the procurement.
With regard to the fires at warehouses, Faldu said that the government had ordered a CID inquiry into the fire incidents and the forensic science lab was roped in to ascertain the cause of the fire. Wherever suspicious incidents were found, the state had taken action against such agencies, he added.
Since January this year, at least five fires have been reported at groundnut warehouses at different locations, including Gandhidham in Kutch, Gondal in Rajkot and Jamnagar.
“Even now, if you give a written complaint about specific centres, the State government will take all possible actions. We are not going to spare anyone responsible for malpractice,” said Faldu.
During the period between October 2017 ad February 2018, Nafed had procured about 8.30 lakh tonnes of groundnut under the price support scheme (PSS), as Gujarat a witnessed bumper crop of 32 lakh tonnes.
For procurement of groundnut, Nafed had appointed four State-level procurement agencies namely, Gujarat Cooperative Oilseeds Growers’ Federation Ltd (Grofed), Gujarat State Cooperative Marketing Federation Ltd (Gujcomasol), Gujarat State Co-Operative Cotton Federation Limited (GujCot) and Banas Dairy, through their affiliate taluka-level farmer cooperatives.