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Paddy procurement: Telangana may not ‘rice’ to the occasion this year

The procurement target for the kharif paddy is 75 lakh tonnes this year, of which the State has procured only 41 lakh tonnes so far.

HYDERABAD: Telangana, which was the highest contributor of paddy to the country last year, may be unable to keep up the momentum this time. The State’s paddy contribution to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) is likely to be very less but there is a silver lining to this — farmers have been selling their produce to millers and traders at a higher rate than the minimum support price (MSP).

The procurement target for the kharif paddy is 75 lakh tonnes this year, of which the State has procured only 41 lakh tonnes so far. “We have time till January-end. But Telangana may not be able to reach its target in kharif,” sources in the FCI confirmed. 

The FCI officials felt that this was due to the high price for the Telangana Sanna Biyyam  paddy variety (also called Telangana Sona) in the open market. “The farmers are getting more than the MSP which is Rs 1,888 per quintal. This is a welcome sign,” Ashwani Kumar Gupta, general manager of FCI Telangana, said. 

According to the Procurement Officer of the State Civil Supplies Corporation, R Raja Reddy, the maximum price the farmers are getting for Sanna Biyyam in Suryapet district is Rs 2,400 per quintal. However, Gupta said, the shortfall in the procurement will not have an adverse impact as the country has enough buffer stock.

Meanwhile, sources said the 41 lakh tonnes of paddy procured till Thursday is sufficient to meet the demand in Telangana. Rice millers alone have purchased 15 lakh tonnes of Sanna Biyyam and traders 10 lakh tonnes, a total of 25 lakh tonnes. The price in the open market is Rs 2,000-Rs 2,400 a quintal.

Additionally, though the Telangana Sanna Biyyam (Telangana Sona) found ready demand from traders and millers and fetched farmers good revenues, the State failed to meet the international standards to export it. China imported around one lakh tonnes of rice, after a gap of three decades, from India this year but did not show interest in Telangana’s yield. This was because the rice mills in the State were not as per Chinese standards. 

The Chinese representatives specifically selected mills which would ensure zero broken rice, less use of pesticides/fertilisers and zero lumps even if stored for several days. “The rice mills in the State did not reach these specifications. The Chinese selected two mills from Andhra Pradesh but not a single one from Telangana,” the millers said. They felt that had the agri-SEZs announced by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao materialised and had the proposed SEZs been equipped with ultra-modern rice mills, Telangana too could have claimed its share in the pie and exported rice to countries like China.

Source: newindianexpress.com