Indian govt’s rice procurement at 93% of target — up 2% year-on-year.

By Prabhudutta Mishra

The Indian government has procured nearly 93 per cent of the paddy targeted from the kharif season in the first five months of the current marketing season to September. Initially, the target was 518 lakh tonnes (lt) but it was subsequently revised to 521 lt after procurement was higher in Haryana. However, the revised target for the kharif season for which the harvest began is 514.72 lt.

As rice procurement has been falling constantly every month since November in Tamil Nadu, the target for the state has been revised lower to 12.9 lt against the initial target of 19.9 lt. This has resulted in an overall downward revision in the pan-India target, an official source said.

According to official data, the overall rice procurement in October was 114.34 lt (up 12 per cent from a year ago), 104.39 lt in November (up 13 per cent), 137.2 lt in December (up 9 per cent), 81.4 lt in January (down by 29 per cent) and 41 lt in February (up 21 per cent).

The procurement of kharif-grown paddy in West Bengal will continue until May 31 and in Assam, upto June 30. It will end in Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka on March 31. In other States, the procurement is already over.

99 lakh beneficiaries

Pan India procurement in terms of rice was 478.3 lt worth over Rs 1.47 lakh crore until February 28 against 469.9 lt in the year-ago period, which has benefitted nearly 99 lakh farmers who are able to sell their paddy at minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2,060/quintal (Grade A variety).

But the absolute increase of 8.4 lt from a year ago can be attributed to higher procurement in West Bengal, where it has reached 14.71 lt as of February 28 from 7.27 lt as of January 31. ‘There was some error in the year-ago procurement data until February 28 as it could not be updated with the latest and remained at 3.72 lt – same as on January 31’ the official source said.

In Uttar Pradesh, the procurement has already exceeded the target of 40 lt, reaching 43.8 lt against 43.6 lt a year ago whereas, in Bihar, the purchase is reported to be at 28.17 lt, marginally down from 30.09 lt. The target for Bihar is to purchase 30 lt in terms of rice from kharif crop.

The procurement in Punjab and Haryana has been completed with 122 lt and 39.5 lt, respectively, being purchased. While the purchase in Punjab is lower by 3.5 lt (down by 2.8 per cent), it is 2.4 lt more (up by 6.6 per cent) in Haryana.

In Chhattisgarh, the rice procurement ended at 61.6 lt, the same as last year despite 16 lt being purchased in November by advancing the buying schedule by a month from normal. In Odisha, the purchase has reported a 14 per cent jump to 40.9 lt whereas in Telangana it is up by 8.3 per cent at 43.5 lt. There was some revision in last year’s procurement in Telangana which led to showing an increase as it was 9 per cent lower this season until January 31. Madhya Pradesh has reported a 30.9 lt purchase, a notch higher from 30.7 lt year-ago.

This article has been republished from The Hindu Business Line.