The Centre has taken adequate measures in coordination with states to ensure there is no delay in procurement of rabi produce like wheat, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday.
Over 80% wheat, 'dalhan' (pulses) and 'tilhan' (oilseeds) crops have been harvested, he told reporters at a video conference organised by the BJP's 'good governance' department.
Tomar acknowledged damage to crops, especially perishable products like flowers and fruits, due to restrictions caused by the nationwide lockdown, and said the Railways' decision to carry essential commodities by trains and connect them with all important cities will help farmers.
The central government, he said, has also invoked Market Intervention Scheme. The Centre and state will equally share the loss caused to farmers producing perishable agricultural and horticulture products, he said.
"That the work related to farming should not stop has been our priority from the day one. The Union government in coordination with states has been taking adequate measures in this regard," Tomar said, noting work like harvesting has been put in essential services during the lockdown.
Procurement of wheat will begin from April 15 and depending upon the restrictions in place, the Centre is working with states for the purchase of farmers' produce while adhering to social distancing norms, he said.
Tomar, who is also the rural development minister, said over Rs 12,771 crore has been disbursed among over 6.39 crore farmers as part of the PM Garib Kalyan Package. Cash benefits announced for women with Jan Dhan account have also reached most of them, he noted.