Cause for concern. Growth in Indian rice procurement slows in November

Agencies’ procurement, which was up 12 per cent in October, is now only 2 per cent higher

The procurement of rice has slowed down in the past fortnight, though the total procurement registered a 2 per cent growth until November 15. The purchase of the cereal by procurement agencies, which began on October 1 for the current marketing season was higher by 12 per cent as of October 1 compared with the year-ago period.

But since then, the scenario has changed. However, the deficit in Uttar Pradesh is not bad as it is in Punjab, where it was higher in October.

According to the latest data, the procurement of rice is 169.13 lakh tonnes (lt) as of November 15 — up by 1.9 per cent from 166.02 lt a year ago. During November 1-15, the procurement of rice was 54.8 lt for the Central Pool — down 14 per cent from 63.8 lt a year ago.

Unlikely to make up

“Against the normal procurement scheduled to commence from December 1 in Chhattisgarh, the government has allowed the purchase to start from this month. So, if you deduct the quantity of Chhattisgarh, the actual procurement in the past fortnight fell by almost a quarter,” said an official source. Last year, procurement in Chhattisgarh started on December 1.

Not yet ready for agri derivatives

The commencement of rice procurement in Tamil Nadu was advanced by a month to September 1 and now the total quantity from the State for the Central Pool is 5.75 lt, some 92 per cent higher from the year-ago period.

Though Punjab’s contribution to the Central Pool stock is down by 3.5 per cent at 113.56 lt, the drop this season is unlikely to be made up. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh may also see a significant fall in rice procurement — as high as 20-25 per cent, official sources said.

May be misleading

“Whatever the current trend is, whether a fall or rise in procurement, could be misleading as the actual harvesting varies year-on-year based on the withdrawal of monsoon. A clear picture will emerge after December as to what could be the likely procurement in 2022-23 kharif season (October-March),” an official said.

In Haryana, the procurement has been completed on November 15 and 38.93 lt of the cereal have been purchased, which is seven per cent more from the year-ago period. The State had set a target to procure 37 lt this year for the Central Pool.

The official purchase in Uttar Pradesh is 2.4 lt — down 6 per cent from a year ago. So far, the procurement is on the expected lines as the production in the State is estimated to drop to 124.8 lt during the 2022-23 season to June. This is down from 152 lt a year ago.

Earlier this year, the Centre procured only 187.92 lt of wheat against a target of 444 lt from the 2021-22 crop. This led to several measures, including a ban on exports as well as no provisioning for the open market sale. The government has already banned the export of broken rice and levied a 20 per cent export duty on white (raw) rice.

The Centre has set the target for the procurement of rice at 518 lt against 510 lt last season.

Date: 17-Nov-2022