Harvest may gather pace soon

CHENNAI: Arrival of samba paddy at direct purchase centres of the Tamil Nadu Civil supplies Corporation in the delta districts is showing a steady increase.

As harvest is likely to be in full swing from the month-end, the arrival is expected to pick up from February first week. The Corporation has so far procured 13,000 tonnes. The daily arrival is 4,000 tonnes. This is expected to cross 10,000 tonnes by the weekend, say Corporation officials.

Target revised

Loss of crop in 50 per cent of the cultivated area in the delta districts due to floods may affect the procurement target, the officials believe. Initially, with storage in the Mettur dam good and the early spell of northeast monsoon adequate, they planned to procure 15 lakh tonnes.

But the subsequent torrential rain damaged crop on 2.02 lakh hectares out of the cultivated area of 4.22 lakh hectares, besides affecting the yield. As against the normal five tonnes a hectare, the yield is likely to be 3.5 tonnes. Hence, the procurement will be less than 10 lakh tonnes.

Moisture content

Owing to the rain, moisture content in paddy is likely to be high. In areas where the harvest is over, the officials say the farmers are busy drying their produce before selling it either to the direct purchase centres or private traders.

When Food Minister Pollachi V.Jayaraman inspected various centres, the farmers had requested him to relax the quality standard for procurement. The State Government, in turn, requested the Food Corporation of India to relax the norms in view of the extraordinary situation.