The government on Thursday set a target to procure 30 million tonne (MT) of rice during the next kharif marketing season (2015-16) starting from October 1.
The Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for foodgrain procurement and distribution, has purchased 32 MT of rice so far in 2014-15 marketing year (October-September). The corporation had set 30.5 MT of rice procurement target last fiscal.
After the meeting of state food department officials from the key rice growing regions, the target for the next year’s rice procurement was arrived at. Under the target, Punjab, the biggest contributor to the central pool, would procure 8.2 MT while Chhattisgarh would purchase 3.6 MT of rice from the farmers.
The key contributors to the central pool include Odisha (2.8 MT), Uttar Pradesh (2.7 MT), Haryana (2.3 MT), Andhra Pradesh (2 MT) and Telangana (1.8 MT). The government has announced a minimum support price (MSP) for common and grade A varieties of paddy at R1,410 and R1,450 per quintal respectively for the 2015-16 season
The meeting, chaired by the food secretary M S Vrinda Sarup, reviewed arrangements for procurement of paddy and coarse grains in key producing states, particularly in the decentralised procurement states Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha and other non-traditional states Bihar and Jharkhand to maximise the procurement of rice and coarse grains during next marketing season.
Meanwhile, the food ministry has asked states to prepare details of storage plans for the coming kharif marketing season and have an action plan to meet the deficit in storage requirements. “Besides, the food secretaries were requested to place indents for purchase of jute bags in time to avoid last-minute shortage of packaging material,” an official statement said.
Sources said that for ensuring smooth rice procurement operations, the states have been asked to open adequate purchase centers and deploy sufficient manpower. According to the latest data, the corporation has rice stocks of 21.8 MT which includes around 5.7 MT of the grain to be received from the millers. Under the revised buffer stocks norm for July 1, the FCI should have a rice stocks of 13.5 MT.
The area under various kharif crops — rice, pulses and oil seeds — rose by 26% till last wee compared to last year, mostly supported by favourable monsoon rains so far. FCI official said that given the widespread rainfall across the country in the last two months, its would not be difficult for agencies to purchased more than 30 mt of rice from farmers.