Cooperative model has proved its superiority in the paddy procurement drive sweeping many states of the country. The difference between market economy and Cooperative model is too obvious to be overlooked.
Poor farmers who produce grains toiling in fields never got a just return of their labour earlier. The middlemen used to buy their produce for a song and sell them with a huge profit margin in the market. The scenario changed by the intervention of cooperative societies in a big way.
States of Bihar, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, among others, employed Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies in the procurement of paddy thereby reducing the role of the middleman to a minimum.
Indiancooperative.com correspondent touring Bihar to find out the role of PACs in paddy procurement has reported huge differences in paddy rates between PACs and the market.
While paddy was being sold at Rs 1080 per quintal at PACs the same was fetching a meager Rs 550 in the market. PACs have also set higher rate for the superior grains. Farmers could be seen lining up at the PACs offices to sell their produce in sacs.
There are though incidents of the middleman approaching the farmers in villages and offering them cash they (farmers) are in great need of. These middlemen have also been found dissuading farmers from going to PACS giving them wrong information about PACs.
In one such case a farmer, U P Yadav of the village Jhitki in the district of Madhubani in north Bihar complained to Indiancooperative.com that the middleman offered him cash by visiting his field at a much reduced rate. Short of money, he accepted it.
But when he came to know of the difference in price through our correspondent his effort to return money and get back his paddy from the middleman was met with stiff resistance.
These are not isolated cases. Many more poor farmers have fallen victim to this tactic. There is an urgent need to popularize the paddy procurement drive through cooperatives. There is also a need to instill confidence among the farmers of an assured return of their produce through PACs.