Government agencies till Monday have procured more than 11.4 million tonne of rice in the current marketing season (2014-15) which is marginally lower than the volume purchased from the farmers during the same period of previous year.
The rice purchase drive by Food Corporation of India (FCI) in collaboration with state government-owned agencies, which commenced on October 1, has been completed in Punjab and Haryana, the two biggest contributors to the central grain pool.
The government has a procurement target of 30 million tonne of rice during October-September 2015 season.
In Punjab, rice procurement this year has been 7.7 million tonne against 8.1 million tonne achieved during 2013-14 marketing year. In Haryana, the agencies have purchased two million tonne of rice which is marginally lower than 2.4 million tonne purchased during same period last year.
A food ministry official said the rice procurement has just commenced in Telangana and Odisha.
However, in Chhattisgarh, which contributed more than four million tonne of rice to the central pool last year, agencies have not commenced purchase operations which was slated to start on December 1.
As per the latest data, 7.6 lakh tonne of rice has been purchased by farmers in Telangana while only 62,000 tonne has been lifted in Andhra Pradesh so far.
In Odisha and Madhy Pradesh, where rice procurement has began a couple of weeks ago, only 1.2 lakh tonne and 2 lakh tonne respectively have been purchased by agencies.
The FCI and state agencies undertake procurement of rice and wheat to ensure that farmers get a minimum support price (MSP) and sufficient foodgrain is available for the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and buffer stocks.
Meanwhile, the foodgrain stocks held with the government agencies have declined to 49.4 million tonne at the start of the month from 51.6 million tonne reported last month and 57.3 million tonne reported three months back.
The lower foodgrain stocks are going to ease storage crunch faced by the FCI and state agencies to a large extent.
However, as the rice procurement drive for 2014-15 is expected to pick up pace in the next few months, the grain stocks with the government are expected to see a sharp rise.