The National Collateral Management Services (NCML), the first private sector player assigned by Food Corporation of India (FCI) for the rice procurement drive in the ongoing kharif marketing season, has already purchased 48,000 tonne of rice equivalent of paddy in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
In Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, where farmers are often forced to sell their paddy below the minimum support price (MSP) to private traders because of a virtual absence of a procurement mechanism, NCML has been procuring paddy in assigned clusters by paying an MSP of R1,410 per quintal for the kharif season (2015-16). Besides this, the payment to the farmers is directly made to the bank accounts of the farmers within a day of procurement.
“So far, we have procured 32,500 tonne of rice, which has benefited over 3,500 farmers. We are confident of crossing 1.5 lakh tonne of rice if the procurement season is extended till the end of March, which is presently under consideration by the state government,” Sanjay Kaul, managing director, NCML, told FE. In the next year’s kharif season, NCML is aiming at purchasing 3 lakh tonne of rice in Jharkhand.
The company has been assigned by FCI to carry out rice procurement drives in South Chhota Nagpur, Saraikala, and East and West Singhbhum districts,
In UP, in which NCML had been allotted a cluster comprising of Varanasi, Ghazipur, Mau, Chandauli and Ballia districts, rice procurement has already crossed 15,500 tonne and in the next kharif season, the company is aiming to procure 2 lakh tone from this cluster. Mumbai-based grain trading firm Veerprabhu has been allowed to purchase paddy from other clusters in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
This is for the first time that private players have been allowed to purchase paddy from farmers on behalf of FCI on a bigger scale. Last year, the Centre had decided to engage private players during the current kharif season for procurement of rice in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam. These are states where the procurement mechanism of FCI and state government agencies are rather poor.
FCI has allowed private firms in only those clusters where there is the possibility of procurement of 1 lakh tonne of rice equivalent of paddy. Besides, the new policy allows the private parties to open as many purchase centres as possible in the allotted cluster, subject to a cluster covering a minimum 500 to 1,000 hectare.
Under the policy, the private parties would be engaged in procurement of paddy in a cluster identified by the respective state government and the private company would deliver custom milled rice (CMR) at the FCI or state government-owned agency godowns.