Heavy production aside, prices of rice likely to remain constant

A lush green maturing paddy crop.

A lush green maturing paddy crop.  

Production of paddy in State is estimated at about one-crore tonnes this year

Unlike many food crops including vegetables and fruits whose market prices depend purely on the demand-supply principle, the production of paddy and prices of rice appear to be bunking that fundamental doctrine at least in Telangana as there’s not much change in the prices of rice irrespective of increasing cultivation in the recent years.

In the current agriculture year (2019-20), the paddy cultivation has been taken up in a record extent of 24.34 lakh hectares (60.85 lakh acres) in the kharif and rabi seasons as the total cultivation of crops has crossed the 60 lakh hectares barrier for the first time – 62.61 lakh ha to be precise till date. Accordingly, the production of paddy is also estimated to cross one-crore tonnes for the first time this year, over 49% increase compared to last year (2018-19) when its production was estimated at over 67 lakh tonnes.

Either poor, middle class or the rich, every section in the society feels the pinch of price rise of such commodities, irrespective of their impact on some sections. Consumers not just in Telangana and across the country are just able to overcome the sky-rocketed prices of onion in the recent months with the prices ruling at ₹25 to ₹35 a kg in retail now. Such upheaval in the price of another perishable commodity, tomato, is a regular feature every year.

“We experienced a similar situation in case of processed redgram (dal) four-five years ago and it has become a regular feature that the prices shoot up whenever a commodity’s production is low and it’s in short supply and the prices drop whenever there’s a glut”, says J. Manohar an IT employee living in Kukatpally. True to his observation, even the wholesale prices of red chilli (dried) went up to as high as ₹22,000 per quintal a couple of months back and as low as ₹5,000 a quintal a few weeks back.

When it comes to rice, the prices are almost constant in the range of ₹30 to ₹40 a kg for different varieties for about a decade now although even the minimum support price of paddy has increased over ₹400 a quintal since 2015-16. “The prices of rice are going to remain the same in Telangana, irrespective of heavy production and increase in the inflation, as the State Government is procurement almost entire paddy that is being produced at MSP and the cost of rice works out that price band after processing”, explains Gampa Nagendra, president of Rice Millers Association.

Even the rice produced in the States as far as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh is reaching Telangana due to unified tax system and the paltry procurement by those State governments at MSP, he argues.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 12:51:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/despite-good-harvest-price-of-rice-likely-to-remain-unchanged/article30817488.ece

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