Chennai

Price of open market rice likely to rise

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Power shortage among factors, say dealers

The price of open market rice is likely to see a jump in the State if the current power situation were to continue.

The Tamil Nadu Rice Mill Owners' Association (RMOA) and the Federation of Paddy and Rice Wholesale Dealers' Associations have expressed apprehension that several factors are conspiring against Tamil Nadu this year, including the power shortage. They say the price of popular varieties such as ‘Ponni' has crossed Rs 40 per kg.

K.S.Jagadeesan, current advisor and past president of the Tamil Nadu RMOA and Federation of Rice Mill Owners and Paddy and Rice Wholesale Dealers' Associations, apprehends that for the first time in recent history, the State might suffer a spike in rice price. “Since single food zone came into existence in the country, Tamil Nadu had never had such a problem”.

He concedes that the State's plan to procure 26 lakh metric tonnes for the public distribution system would be able to take care of only a portion of the state's requirement. “But this alone won't do because it is the paddy and rice from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh that have been helpful in stabilising the price at affordable level in Tamil Nadu.” “Above all, most of the people are now accustomed to consuming fine and superfine varieties which are available only in the open market”, he adds.

K.S.Arumugham and president K.P.Sakthivel, former President of the Erode District RMOA, say the inflow of rice from AP has slumped. At the same time, the arrival of ‘Sona Masoori' paddy from Karnataka, considered equivalent to ‘Ponni” variety, has also declined substantially. As Karnataka is apprehensive of its second crop of paddy anticipating poor monsoon, Karnataka merchants are procuring varieties like 505, 509, Komal, Sonal, NLR and JCL from Tamil Nadu “paying down cash”.

M.Ramasamy, president of the Tirupur District RMOA, says Sona Masoori paddy, which was sold around Rs 14 a kg last February (when the harvest begins), is now quoted around Rs 17. When the harvest ended around August last year, it rose to Rs 18-19 per kg.

Sona Masoori old quality paddy, which was quoted last year around Rs 19 per kg, is now sold at Rs 22. “We are worried about the steep hike likely in about six months.” Mr.Jagadeesan says that from 100 kg of paddy, it would be possible to get 62-66 kg of rice, depending upon the quality. While Tamil Nadu has a hulling capacity of about one lakh tonnes a day, only half the capacity is utilised at present.

“As power holiday has been declared on Friday and Sunday for this continuous processing industry from March 1, HT units are able to process only two days a week and LT units three days. Thus the mills processing 120 tonnes of paddy in six days are able to process only 40 tonnes. This would automatically hurt the availability of rice in the open market and impact the price”.

He pleads that at least this sector, which is exempted from power cut, should be exempted from power holiday also.

“We plan to meet the Food Minister shortly in this regard,” he added.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 4:16:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/price-of-open-market-rice-likely-to-rise/article2985389.ece

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