Activists of the Andhra Pradesh Rytu Sangham (APRS) staged a demonstration at the office of the District Manager of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) here on Wednesday against reported contraction in the procurement (levy) targets of paddy. The protesters expressed apprehension over the perceived adverse effects of the shrinkage from 75 per cent to 25 per cent in the levy targets over the prospects of farmers receiving minimum support price for the produce.

Addressing the protesters, sangham district secretary B. Balaram said the move would put growers at the mercy of traders.

The near-total withdrawal of the FCI from the business of procurement would also go against the underlying objective of the Food Security Act. When the FCI was directly procuring paddy from farmers in Punjab and Haryana, what prevented it from doing so in Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Balaram questioned. The revised levy policy of the FCI is likely to raise serious concerns for growers.