This year, TNCSC expects to procure four to five lakh tonnes, but farmers say this is not possible as samba prospects are bleak for want of water

Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) may have to be content with lesser procurement of paddy during this samba season as prospects of samba appear bleak due to scarcity of water in the Cauvery delta districts. As Kuruvai was raised only in pump-set irrigated areas, and with private parties giving a better price than TNCSC, the corporation has procured very less during Kuruvai season.

For example, in Thanjavur district, the corporation had procured only 767 tonnes in Kuruvai. “By this time last year, we procured 1.50 lakh tonnes,” said TNCSC officials. Samba is the major procurement season for TNCSC and the procurement last year in Thanjavur district alone was 6.5 lakh tonnes.

This year, TNCSC expects to procure four to five lakh tonnes, but farmers say this is not possible as samba prospects are bleak for want of water. “Leave alone procurement by TNCSC, if samba fails this year, food security will be under threat,” said farmers.

There were two seasons of procurement previously, i.e. Kuruvai from October one to December 15 and samba from December 16 to July 31. The corporation followed various procurement policies like monopoly procurement in which the corporation alone will purchase paddy in the districts, parallel procurement in which it will purchase along with private traders and levy system.

From October 1, 2002, the corporation has been following the decentralised system of procurement as per minimum support price and uniform specification fixed by the Central government.

Procurement was good in the last decade from 2002 and it had reached 23.10 lakh tonnes in 2010-11 from 1.59 lakh tonnes in 2002-03. The corporation opened 347 direct purchase centres in 2002-03 and procured 1.59 lakh tonnes. During 2003-04, there were 571 DPCs and procurement was 3.10 lakh tonnes. “The corporation hopes to procure samba paddy this year from pump set irrigated areas. This is sure but rain-fed and canal irrigated areas may not account much,” say officials.

TNCSC hulls the paddy purchased by it in its 23 modern rice mills and through private hullers. It stores rice and moves the stocks to public distribution system through co-operatives and other agents. PDS will be hit if TNCSC does not procure adequate paddy and convert it into rice. TNCSC does market intervention whenever farmers are in distress or produce lower quality paddy due to natural calamities like floods.