Four months since the commencement of paddy procurement by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies for the 2022-23 current season (October-September), the total purchase till Sunday was up marginally on year at 66 million tonne (MT) which is equivalent of 51.4 MT of rice.
In the corresponding period last year, the paddy purchases were to the tune of 65 MT.
Higher grain procurement has given a boost to FCI’s rice stocks which had depleted by implementation of the free ration scheme.
At the beginning of the month, FCI had 17 MT of rice along with 30 MT to be received from millers which was far more than the buffer requirement of 7.6 MT for the beginning of the year.
The corporation needs 40 MT of rice annually for distribution to beneficiaries under National Food Security Act.
Officials said that surplus rains last year, by the end of September and the first week of October, prior to paddy harvesting, have not impacted mandi arrivals as earlier feared. Punjab, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Odisha have contributed the most to the procurement drive.
In Punjab, the top contributor to the central pool, the agencies including FCI have purchased 18.2 MT of paddy this season, which is 2.7% less than during the same period in the previous year.
Agencies in Haryana have procured 5.8 MT of grains under MSP operations, which was marginally higher than a year ago. In Telangana, agencies have purchased 6.4 MT of paddy so far which is a marginal increase from the previous year.
In Chhattisgarh and Odisha, where paddy purchase by agencies is currently being undertaken, 9.2 MT and 4.8 MT of paddy respectively have been procured from the farmers under MSP operations so far.
In Uttar Pradesh, where the paddy crop was impacted by unseasonal rains in October, agencies have purchased 6.1 MT of grain which at the same level as the previous year. Other key states which have contributed significantly include Andhra Pradesh (3.1 MT), Tamil Nadu (0.5 MT) and Uttarakhand (0.8 MT)..
The government is aiming to procure 90 MT of paddy in the entire marketing season (2022-23).
Paddy-to-rice conversion ratio is 67%. After paddy is procured from the farmers by the FCI and state agencies, it is handed over to millers for conversion into rice.
FCI supplied rice for distribution to more than 800 million beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act and other welfare schemes. The rice procured from grain-surplus states is also used for keeping a buffer stock with the FCI.
According to an agriculture ministry estimate, rice production could decline by 6 MT in the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) from a record 130 MT in the 2021-22 crop year.
In the 2020-21 season, rice procurement was at a record 60.2 MT while in the previous year, the grain procurement was marginally lower at 59.2 MT . Rice production had hit a record 130.29 MT in the 2021-22 crop year.
The government had earlier increased the MSP of the common variety of paddy by more than 5% to `2,040 a quintal for the 2022-23 season, from Rs 1,940 per quintal a year ago.