Paddy procurement in the State has crossed 15 lakh tonnes in the current khariff season, that is, between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010.

Though a target of 16 lakh tonnes had been fixed, the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation, the procurement agency for the State, is unlikely to achieve it due to shortage in kuruvai procurement.

As on May 10, the Corporation had purchased 15.03 lakh tonnes from all over the State and the bulk of the purchase was from the delta districts viz., Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam and some taluks in Tiruchi, Pudukottai, Karur and Cuddalore districts.

Tiruvarur district topped among the delta districts by recording 4.22 lakh tonnes followed by Thanjavur with 3.9 lakh tonnes and Nagapattinam with 2.44 lakh tonnes. On an average 4,000 tonnes are arriving at the 400-odd direct purchase centres in the districts. There had been substantial arrivals in non-delta districts also, especially in Madurai, Kancheepuram, Erode and Sivaganga districts.

However, the procurement was less when compared to the last season. During the last khariff season, that is, 2008-09, the State had purchased 17.9 lakh tonnes. The shortfall, according to Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation officials, was due to failure of kuruvai crops. In the last season, the Corporation had purchased 3.04 lakh tonnes in kuruvai compared to a mere 36,000 tonnes in the current season.

Another reason was that farmers this time sold a substantial quantity to private traders who were ready to pay more than the minimum support price offered by the Corporation.

The official said the procurement operations would come to an end by May, the officials added.