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India’s Rice Procurement Drops 13%, Govt Aims to Purchase 52 Million Tonnes in 2023-24: Report

Separately, in response to rising domestic prices of non-basmati rice, the government has issued a directive to release good quality rice under the open market sales scheme at Rs 29 per kg to traders and processors.

New Delhi: India’s rice procurement, through the Food Corporation of India (FCI), has seen a 12.7% decrease in the first two-and-a-half months of the season starting October 1, dropping to 243.85 lakh tonnes from the previous year’s 279.38 lakh tonnes.

Despite the decline, the government has expressed confidence in recovering the deficit in the coming months.

According to the Hindu BusinessLine, the procurement has been completed in Punjab and Haryana and is at par with target. The FCI has been able to manage to buy 124.08 lakh tonnes in Punjab, which is 2% from last year, and 39.42 lakh tonnes in Haryana, which is a tad lower from 39.5 lakh tonnes in 2022. The target in Punjab was 122 lakh tonnes and in Haryana 40 lakh tonnes, the newspaper reported.

“With the level of procurement we are doing, our requirement will definitely be met. We also have extra quantity available over and above the quantity required under all the schemes put together,” FCI’s chairman and managing director Ashok Meena said last week. The target in Punjab has been exceeded, while it is nearly achieved in Haryana, he said.

The government has set a target to purchase 521.27 lakh tonnes (52.13 million tonnes) of rice from kharif-grown crop in the 2023-24 season (October-September), the business daily reported.

The agriculture ministry has projected a 4% decline in kharif rice production to 106.31 million tonnes in the current season, compared to 110.51 million tonnes the previous year. The total expected procurement from both kharif and rabi seasons in 2023-24 is estimated to be around 550 lakh tonnes, a decrease from the 569.47 lakh tonnes recorded in 2022-23, according to Meena.

He attributed the overall fall in this year’s rice procurement on elections in Chhattisgarh and Telangana and hoped that it will be covered up in the next few weeks as polls are now over.

In Chhattisgarh, the rice procurement has been reported at 21.33 lakh tonnes until December 15, which is 40% lower from 35.47 lakh tonnes a year ago. In Telangana, the rice procurement was 23% lower at 23.83 lakh tonnes. It was 31.08 lakh tonnes a year ago.

In other states, such as Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, rice procurement has been sluggish. Odisha experienced a decline of 39% in rice procurement, while Andhra Pradesh saw a 56% reduction in rice purchases.

The FCI is able to buy 2.4 lakh tonnes in Odisha and 2.96 lakh tonnes in Andhra Pradesh so far this year, the newspaper reported.

Exporters are reported to be very active in these two states after the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress promised to pay Rs 3,100-3,200 per quintal during their poll campaigns in Chhattisgarh.

“Farmers are expecting to get Rs 3,100/quintal for their paddy whereas FCI is currently paying the MSP, which is Rs 2,203/quintal (for grade A variety),” said a state government official, adding once a policy is announced, purchase may pick up as farmers are holding onto the crop.

The official purchase in Uttar Pradesh has been recorded at 13.73 lakh tonnes, down 12% from 15.63 lakh tonnes a year ago.

Currently, rice procurement in the eastern region of the state stands at 6.93 lakh tonnes, showing a slight increase from 6.92 lakh tonnes compared to the previous year. In contrast, the western region has witnessed a 22% decrease, with procurement at 6.81 lakh tonnes as opposed to 8.71 lakh tonnes in the previous year.

Rice procurement in Tamil Nadu has been nearly constant at 3.7 lakh tonnes for the past one month and is lower by 36% against 5.81 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period. But West Bengal has reported a surge, due to early harvest, as procurement has reached 1.07 lakh tonnes so far against only 3,043 tonnes in the year ago period, the business daily said.

Separately, the Union government on Monday (December 18) directed rice industry associations to ensure domestic prices of non-basmati rice are brought down to optimal levels and profiteering is dealt with strictly, Mint reported.

The government, in response to rising domestic prices of non-basmati rice, has issued a directive to make good quality rice available under the open market sales scheme (OMSS) at Rs 29 per kg to traders and processors.

The directive has been issued after the food ministry came to know that rice is sold at Rs 43 per kg to Rs 50 per kg in the retail market.

This decision follows a meeting convened by food secretary Sanjeev Chopra with top representatives of the rice processing industry.

Despite a good kharif crop, ample stocks with the FCI, and existing regulations on rice exports, domestic prices have increased, the business daily reported.

In July, the government had banned exports of non-basmati white rice and imposed a 20% export duty on parboiled rice to enhance domestic availability and affordability.

Additionally, a minimum export price of $950 per tonne for basmati rice was set in October to discourage its export.

The move aims to address the disparity between market prices and the government’s efforts to ensure an adequate and affordable rice supply in the country.

https://thewire.in/government/indias-rice-procurement-drops-13-govt-aims-to-purchase-52-million-tonnes-in-2023-24-report QR Code

Published Date: December 19, 2023

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