Poor monsoon fails to hamper govts rice procurement drive

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 14 2012, 17:16pm hrs
RiceDeficient monsoon in north India this year has not impacted the government?s rice procurement drive in the 2012-13 season. (Reuters)
Deficient monsoon in north India this year has not impacted the governments rice procurement drive in the 2012-13 season.

Punjab and Haryana, the key contributors to the central pool, have also reported increase in procurement by Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government owned agencies. With the procurement season in these two states virtually over, the government agencies have purchased more rice from farmers in comparison to last year.

Till Thursday, agencies in Punjab have lifted 8.5 million tonne of rice against only 7.6 mt purchased in the previous year. Similarly, Haryana has contributed 2.5 mt of rice to central pool against about 2 mt reported in the previous year.

Because of open-ended policy adopted by the government, we have managed to procure more rice in deficient rainfall areas of Punjab and Haryana, a FCI official told FE. In total, FCI and state agencies have lifted more than 13.6 mt of rice across the country, which is an increase of about 5% from the previous year.

Andhra Pradesh, the biggest contributor to the central pool last year, has contributed more than 7 lakh tonne of rice against 8 lakh tonne reported during the same period last year.

As the government has increased rice procurement target for 2012-13 to 40 mt from 35 mt reported in the previous year, Andhra Pradesh is expected to contribute more than 9.6 mt rice to central pool against only 5 mt procured in the last year. Andhra Pradesh grows rice both in kharif and rabi season.

In Chhattisgarh, where procurement operations started few weeks back, state civil supplies cooperation has lifted 1.1 mt of rice against 1.3 mt purchased during same period last year.

In anticipation of a bumper rice output, Chhattisgarh is targeting at procuring a record volume of grain in excess of 5 mt in the ongoing kharif marketing season (2012-13). During the previous year, the state contributed more than 4.1 mt rice to the central pool.

Procurement is expected to commence in Orissa and other key contributing states by end of this month, a food ministry official said. Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa contribute significantly to the countrys rice procurement drive.

For the 2011-12 season, the FCI and state agencies had lifted more than 34.9 mt of rice from farmers. FCI procures from farmers for distribution of food grains for Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and for maintaining buffer stocks and strategic reserve norms. Besides, the corporation also keeps food grains under strategic reserve norm and for distribution to armed forces as well.