Rice procurement by the government in the current marketing year, ending September, 2010, has so far fallen by over three per cent to 26.72 million tonnes on account of lower production.
Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrains, and state agencies had procured 27.63 million tonnes of rice in the corresponding period of the previous marketing year, which runs from October to September.
The Centre had procured a record 33.68 million tonnes of rice in the entire 2008—09 marketing year.
For the 2009—10 marketing year, it kept the procurement target lower than the previous year, at 26 million tonnes, in view of the lower quantum of rice production in the 2009 kharif (summer) season due to the drought that hit over 300 districts of the country.
With procurement surpassing the initial target of 26 million tonnes, FCI now expects rice procurement by the government in the 2009—10 marketing year to reach the 30 million tonnes mark.
The largest rice contributor to the central pool this year, so far, has been Punjab, where procurement has increased by over 9 per cent to 9.27 million tonnes compared to 8.47 million tonnes a year ago.
Rice procurement from Chhattisgarh has also increased by 20 per cent to 3.06 million tonnes, so far, this year from 2.54 million tonnes in the corresponding period of the previous year.
FCI has procured 27 per cent more rice from Haryana, so far, this marketing year, lifting 1.81 million tonnes as against 1.42 million tonnes in the corresponding period of the previous year.
On the other hand, rice procurement from Andhra Pradesh —— a major contributor —— has declined by 19 per cent to 4.38 million tonnes, so far, this marketing year from 5.38 million tonnes in the same period last year.
Similarly, the government’s rice purchase from Uttar Pradesh, so far, this year stands at 2.62 million tonnes, down 27 per cent from 3.57 million tonnes a year ago.
Rice procurement from Orissa, so far, this year has also decreased by about six per cent to 1.88 million tonnes against 1.99 million tonnes in the same period last year.
The government procures foodgrains at a fixed minimum support price (MSP) to protect farmers from market fluctuations. The MSP for common grade of paddy has been decided at Rs 1,000 per quintal and at Rs. 1,030 per quintal for grade A variety, both including a bonus, for the 2009—10 marketing year.
India’s rice production is estimated to decline to 87.56 million tonnes in the 2009—10 marketing year from the record level of 99.18 million tonnes in the previous year.