Paddy farmers complain they are not getting the minimum priceThe government has fixed the lowest price that can be charged for Mota Dhan at Rs25.32 per kg.
The government has fixed the lowest price that can be charged for Mota Dhan at Rs25.32 per kg, and for common paddy at Rs26.73 per kg. The minimum price is intended to protect farmers and ensure that they make a minimum profit should market prices drop.
But rice growers said that buyers were offering them only Rs20 per kg for both types. The government fixed the minimum support prices of paddy for this year’s harvest a few weeks ago.
“We do not benefit anything from the government’s minimum support price. The price set by the government does not ensure that we will be paid that amount,” said Bhanu Pratap Rana of Rajpur, Dhangadhi. “Every year, the government increases prices of goods and services by a heavy margin, but prices of crops remain the same.”
According to Rana, there is growing discontent among farmers in the region because they are not being paid the government-set prices for their crops despite their investment and hardship.
Many farmers said that the government had failed to implement plans ensuring a fair return on their investments.
“Every year, more and more farmers are giving up their traditional occupation because the government cannot enforce its decision on fair prices,” said Dinesh Rana, a farmer from Matyari. “The farmers become hopeful when the government announces higher prices, but the rates are never implemented. Farmers are forced to sell their paddy at a lower price.”
Farmers have to sell their paddy for whatever they can get because they need the money to pay off the loans they took to plant their crops, they said.
“We had heard that the government had increased the trading price of paddy, but the traders have not paid us that amount,” said Ram Chandra Chaudhary of Joshipur in Kailali. “We are forced to sell our paddy at a cheaper rate because we have to pay off our debts.”
Traders said that they could not afford to pay the minimum prices set by the government. "The rate is too high and we cannot purchase paddy at that price," they said.
“Although the price of paddy has been revised by the government, the price of milled rice remains unchanged. We are forced to sell rice at a cheaper rate too,” said Manoj Agrawal, manager of Raj Shree Food Industries. “We can pay farmers the prices fixed by the government for their paddy if the price of rice increases.”
State-run Nepal Food Management and Trading Company has not been able to implement the minimum support price for paddy either as it has not received purchase permission from the government, according to company officials.
“It is not our fault. We have not received permission from the government to buy paddy from farmers,” said Dharma Raj Panta, a company official based in Dhangadhi. “It might take some time for the government to issue permission to buy paddy from farmers.”