The second phase of paddy procurement by the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) in the district this financial year is facing rough weather.
Poor rain, low productivity owing to scarcity of water, increased procurement price in the open market and a delayed harvest have affected Supplyco’s paddy procurement. A 70 per cent fall has been reported in procurement in the district this year. Only 1,500 tonnes of paddy has been procured this season against 5,000 tonnes last year. The second paddy crop of the year is perhaps harvested first in the State in Thrissur. Harvest begins usually at Thalappilly taluk early January. It got delayed this year. The harvest in Pazhayannur, Wadakkanchery and Chovannur blocks too has been delayed.
Last year, Supplyco had procured 72,000 tonnes of paddy in the district after harvest of the second crop. This year, it expects to procure only 30,000 tonnes.
According to District Paddy Officer C. J. Sunny, the State has pinned its hopes on the harvest that would begin in Palakkad in the first week of February and in kole lands of Thrissur towards the end of the month. Paddy is harvested in Kuttanad fields only from the second week of March. The Supplyco maintains that it usually gets about five loads of paddy from a panchayat in the district. This year, it gets two loads of paddy from three or four panchayats. Officials say that Supplyco could procure huge quantities of paddy last year as it provided Rs. 15 a kg when the price in the open market was Rs. 9 a kg. This year, private mills have reportedly procured paddy from farmers at a higher price.
Supplyco had raised its procurement price to Rs. 17 a kg. But private mills reportedly pay farmers up to Rs. 21 a kg. Supplyco also rues that it does not get to procure much of Jyoti matta rice, a premium brand. Officials say that it is likely to affect the public distribution of matta rice.