National

Well-stocked granaries may help hold rice price line, says trade body

Despite a deficient monsoon, Punjab and Haryana, the States that contribute the highest quantity of rice and wheat, have surpassed last year’s purchase of paddy.

Despite a deficient monsoon, Punjab and Haryana, the States that contribute the highest quantity of rice and wheat, have surpassed last year’s purchase of paddy.   | Photo Credit: AJAY VERMA

But an Assocham study has warned of an increase in prices

Amid concern that the price of rice may be next to shoot up after those of pulses and onion, trade bodies put forth divergent views.

V.S. Sethia, former president and currently a governing council member of the All-India Rice Export Association, told The Hindu that apprehensions of a sharp rise in rice price were baseless as ample stock of regular (non-basmati) varieties were available.

“I see no reason price of rice would increase in the open market in the near future. During the current kharif marketing season, State government agencies and the Food Corporation of India have procured far more rice than last year,” Mr. Sethia said.

Despite a deficient monsoon, Punjab and Haryana, the States that contribute the highest quantity of rice and wheat to the central pool, have till now procured over 182 lakh tonnes of rice, surpassing last year’s purchase.

In Punjab, paddy procurement has crossed 130 lakh tonnes from last year’s 118 lakh tonnes, say Food and Supplies Department officials. In Haryana, over 52 lakh tonnes has been procured, up from 38.31 lakh tonnes during the corresponding period last year.

A study recently released by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India cautioned that rice prices may soon soar with stocks dwindling as a fallout of the deficient monsoon and a drop in output.

“Prices of rice may shoot up to reach a boiling point in the coming months as the stocks of the staple cereal are depleting fast, owing to deficient rain and fall in output,” Assocham said in a statement.

The study, titled “Impact of weak/deficient monsoon on agricultural production and prices,” said: “Increasing export outgo on account of PDS [public distribution system] and other welfare schemes will continue to weigh on availability in the open market. Unless the government is able to handle the situation prudently, depleting stocks will soon reflect on the open market prices.”

The study said the deficient monsoon this year was likely to slow down the economy considerably and accentuate inflationary pressure, coupled with a shortage of essential food items.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 1:41:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/wellstocked-granaries-may-help-hold-rice-price-line-says-trade-body/article7889161.ece

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