Kerala scouts for AP rice in bid to cool down prices…

Thiruvananthapuram: Rice prices in Kerala are unlikely to cool anytime soon despite the efforts of the administration to procure more quantity from outside the State. Even as the supply of ‘Jaya’ variety rice from Andhra Pradesh will get delayed by another five months, other varieties are likely to arrive in the Kerala markets after a month.

We are currently not cultivating the popular rice brand (Jaya), stated Andhra Pradesh Minister K V Nageswara Rao, after meeting with Kerala Food and Civil Supplies Minister G R Anil the other day.

Rao is the Minister for Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs.

However, the Civil Supplies corporations of both states have reached a pact to start the supply of other rice varieties, including 'Surekha', besides grocery items like bengal gram, red cow pea, coriander, dried red chilli, and Kashmiri chilli from next month onwards.

Andhra Pradeh will resume the cultivation of ‘Jaya’. It has already readied the seeds. Kerala’s demand for supply of 3,840 tons a month can be met only after the harvest five months from now.

‘Jaya’ and ‘Jyothi’ form 70 percent of the rice being consumed by the people in Kerala. While ‘Jaya’ is procured from Andhra Pradesh, ‘Jyothi’ is supplied from neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The inter-state ministerial-level talks were convened urgently as the prices of essential commodities shot up following a fall in the supply of rice from Andhra Pradesh in recent times.

The decrease in paddy output in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka has led to the price rise. The retail price of loose Matta rice is Rs 60 per kilogram and branded Matta is Rs 67 per kg as of Monday. The wholesale price of Matta rice is Rs 58 per kg.

Genuine 'Jaya' not traded now

Minister Nageswara Rao said the rice being supplied in Kerala in the name of ‘Jaya’ brand was not the real one.

‘Jaya’ is cultivated in the Godavari region. When the Food Corporation of India (FCI) stopped its procurement years back, the Andhra Pradeh farmers started cultivating other rice brands instead of ‘Jaya’, said Ahmed Babu, the Managing Director of Andhra Pradesh Dairy Development Cooperative Federation Limited. (Babu is originally from Kerala.)

Minister Anil evaded from giving a direct reply when asked whether the government will initiate action if fake 'Jaya' rice is being made available in the state.

10 kg rice for white cardholders

White card holders in Kerala will get 10 kg rice at Rs 10.90 per kg this month, Minister Anil said. Out of this, 8 kg is in addition to the usual quantity provided. Blue card holders too will be allocated an additional 8 kg of special rice, he said.

The Civil Supplies Department had published the ration allotment chart without including the special rice provision as announced by the minister. However, the minister promised the same will be distributed at ration outlets.

Ration card holders can collect rice from Mobile Maveli Stores in taluks where there are no Supplyco outlets or Maveli stores. Jaya, Kuruva, Matta, and Pachari will be given free of cost.

Date: 02-Nov-2022