By Nitin Jain
Paddy procurement concluded across 13 market committees in Ludhiana district with the arrival of 18.32 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) stock, which was highest in the past five years, the administration has said.
Even as ‘glut’-like situation prevailed in most of the mandis due to heavy inflow of grains, the district administration has claimed smooth paddy procurement and lifting with no hardship to the farmers in the state’s biggest and largest district, in terms of area and population.
Of the total 18.32 LMT of paddy arriving across the district till December 7, which was the last day of official purchase, 18.3 LMT stock has been procured, which accounts for 99.9 per cent of the total arrivals. Of the total procurement, over 18.12 LMT grains had already been lifted from the mandis, which accounted for 99 per cent of the total purchase.
While the government agencies procured over 18.27 LMT paddy, which accounted for 99.87 per cent of the total purchase this season, arhtiyas (private traders) bought just 2,435 LMT grains, which was mere 0.13 per cent of the total procurement in the district.
The arhtiyas bought the meagre produce at only 6 of the total 13 market committees, while no private purchase had taken place at any of the mandis under the rest seven market committees.
The development assumes significance as the harvesting of the paddy crop had been delayed due to the recent heavy rainfall resulting in flooding of most of the area under the rice crop. Besides, the area under cultivation had also reduced from 2,58,800 hectares in 2022 to 2,56,900 hectares this season.
Sharing details, District Mandi Officer (DMO) Bir Inder Singh Sidhu told The Tribune that the procurement of rice was undertaken in a smooth and hassle-free manner across all 13 market committees in Ludhiana.
He said all arrangements were made to facilitate the farmers, arriving with their paddy crop at all mandis by ensuring the swift procurement, lifting and payment of their foodgrain.
This season’s paddy arrival was 1,45,851 MT, which accounted for almost 9 per cent, more than 16.86 LMT of grains that had arrived in the district during the corresponding period last year.
Besides the arrival of 18.32 LMT of parmal rice, of which 18.3 LMT had been purchased by government and private agencies at the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2,203 and maximum of Rs 2,220 per quintal, as much as 54,073 MT of basmati rice had also been received and the entire stock purchased by private agencies at the maximum price of Rs 5,345 per quintal and minimum of Rs 2,200 per quintal till date. Barring 299 MT, the rest procured basmati rice had also been lifted from the mandis.
Setting a new record, basmati arrival and procurement this season so far was 20,438 MT, which accounted for almost 61 per cent more than 33,635 MT of basmati rice that had arrived and was procured in Ludhiana during the corresponding period last year.
This season’s maximum price of Rs 5,345 per quintal was also Rs 815 per quintal, which accounted for almost 18 per cent more than Rs 4,530 per quintal of maximum price that the basmati rice had fetched during the corresponding period last year.
Sidhu disclosed that the Jagraon MC has surpassed the Khanna MC, which comprises Asia’s biggest grain market, to record the highest arrival of 2,71,230 MT paddy, which was almost 15 per cent of the district’s total stock this season.
The MC-wise data showed that the maximum of 2,71,230 MT paddy had arrived of which 2,2,71,180 MT had been purchased in Jagraon, followed by 2,52,413 MT arrival and 2,52,410 MT procurement in Mullanpur Dakha, 2,06,438 MT arrival and total procurement in Khanna, 1,68,903 MT arrival and 1,68,873 MT procurement in Raikot, 1,45,529 MT arrival and total procurement in Machhiwara, 1,28,532 MT arrival and 1,28,361 MT procurement in Kila Raipur, 1,17,148 MT arrival and total procurement in Sidhwan Bet, 1,23,225 MT arrival and total procurement in Doraha, 99,027 MT arrival and total procurement in Samrala, 95,095 MT arrival and total procurement in Hathur, 87,732 MT arrival and total procurement in Sahnewal, 70,237 MT arrival and total procurement in Maloud and the minimum of 66,297 MT grain had arrived of which 64,759 MT had been purchased in Ludhiana grain market till this season ended.
The DMO revealed that of the total procured 18.3 LMT of paddy, 18.12 LMT, which accounted for 99 per cent of the total purchase, had been lifted from the grain markets while the remaining 1 per cent was in the process of being lifted.
Paddy crop replanted paddy over 1,750 hectares
Divulging the extent of damage caused by the recent floods and relief extended to the farmers, Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO) Dr Narinder Singh Benipal said paddy was planted in over 2,56,900 hectares in Ludhiana district during the current Kharif season, of which almost 6,475 hectares had suffered damage due to recent floods. He said the help extended by the Agriculture Department had ensured recovery of partially damaged paddy in over 4,725 hectares while free saplings/ seeds were provided to the flood-hit farmers to replant paddy crop over 1,750 hectares. “With this, our entire area that had been hit by the floods had been recovered and not even a single field had been left where no paddy plantation had been done,” the CAO claimed. He said saplings/seeds of various paddy varieties, mainly PR-126, PR-124 and basmati, were distributed free of cost at the block level.
No private purchase in 7 MCs
Mandis and purchase centres across seven of 13 market committees in the district had not yet witnessed any private paddy purchase even as the current procurement season ended on December 7. Except 534 MT at Machhiwara, 522 MT in Samrala, 435 MT at Mullanpur Dakha, 404 MT in Khanna, 287 MT at Jagraon and 252 MT at Hathur, private agencies had procured a single grain in any of the other seven MCs.
Ludhiana market committee not only recorded the district’s lowest 66,297 MT of paddy arrival but also procured the least of 64,759 MT grain, leaving the maximum of 1,538-MT stock unsold this season.
In a record of sorts, the yield of paddy this season had also touched a record high in Ludhiana district in the past three years. The paddy yield had increased by 7 per cent as compared to last year. The development assumes significance as the area under paddy crop was less this Kharif season as compared to the previous year and the flood fury had also hit the rice crop hard during the current season. The results of experiments on the paddy crop conducted by the Agriculture Department this season showed that 7,603 kg rice per hectare yield had been found in Ludhiana in 2023, which was 476-kg per hectare, accounting for 6.68 per cent more than 7,127-kg per hectare of grains yielded from the paddy crop here in 2022.
This article has been republished from The Tribune.