Government's rice procurement may surpass last year's level of 32 million tonnes in the 2015-16 marketing year despite prospect of lower production due to deficient monsoon. As per the latest data, rice procurement has risen by 31 per cent to 20 MT so far in the 2015-16 marketing year that started from October, from 15.29 MT in the year-ago period.
The Centre's nodal procurement agency Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government-owned agencies undertake procurement operations. The Centre has kept a rice procurement target of 30 MT for the this year.
"Despite the Agriculture Ministry's first estimate of lower production, somehow rice procurement has been higher so far in most states. If the current trend continues, the overall rice procurement in 2015-16 would surpass last year's level," a senior Food Ministry official shared.
Higher rice procurement was mainly due to fall in prices of common variety in most mandis after basmati rice rates declined sharply, the official said. At present, procurement has been completed in Punjab and Haryana, while the operations are in full swing in Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Winter rice will be procured from Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Telangana and Odisha.
As per the latest data, rice procurement in Punjab rose to 9.34 MT in 2015-16 from 7.78 MT in the last year. Similarly, rice purchase in Haryana increased to 2.85 MT from 2.01 MT in the review period. Rice procurement in Andhra Pradesh has more than doubled to 1.2 MT so far this year as against 5,58,573 tonnes in the year-ago period, while neighbouring Telangana state procured only 9,07,180 tonnes as against 1.28 MT in the said period.
In Chattishgarh, the procurement was up at 2.53 MT from 1.56 MT, while in Uttar Pradesh the purchases rose to 1 MT from 6,05,000 tonnes in the said period, the data showed. Rice procurement in Odisha increased to 7,36,945 tonnes so far this year from 1,59,793 tonnes in the year-ago period.
In its first estimate, the Agriculture Ministry has projected a fall in kharif rice production to 90.61 MT in the 2015-16 crop year (July-June) from 90.86 MT in the year-ago period due to 14 per cent fall in monsoon rains. The agencies buy paddy from the farmers and give to millers for conversion into rice. The government has fixed the minimum support price of common variety of paddy at Rs 1,410 per quintal for 2015-16 kharif season.