Paddy procurement faces rough weather

he paddy procurement scheme, launched by the State government through Supplyco, is facing rough weather. Over 10,000 hectares of paddy fields spread over Kuttanad, Ambalappuzha, and other areas are facing uncertainty over the procurement of the second crop.

Though Supplyco is expected to commence procurement on October 1, non-cooperation of millers is bound to create serious problems. In many areas, paddy shoots have fallen down, posing damage to the crop. If not harvested at the earliest, there is the danger of germination of paddy. Even those who have harvested the crop are unable to remove paddy from the fields as the procurement is done at the fields. In the past, farmers were given procurement advice by the officials concerned well in advance so that the harvested paddy could be directly transported from the spot to the assigned millers.

This time, the millers have decided to desist from the procurement drive, demanding a hike in handling charges. As the dispute drags on, the farmers could be the worst hit. If Supplyco fails to take a decision at the earliest, it could sound the death knell of the procurement process, leading to an alarming situation in the paddy farming sector.

Intervention sought

“The government should intervene in the matter urgently,” says Kuttanad Vikasana Samithy executive director Fr. Thomas Peelianikkal. The information that procurement would start only on October 1 has been passed on to the farmers late. There is lack of coordination between the Civil Supplies and Agriculture Ministries, he says.

“The issue needs urgent attention from the government,” says P.T. Scaria, district president, Karsha Congress. Farmers’ problems should be resolved on a priority basis, he says.

Rice millers used to collect paddy from the fields, process it, and send it to wholesalers. The Kerala State Rice Mill Owners Association contends that it has been incurring increased expenditure, rendering the job unprofitable.

The moisture content in the paddy being collected from the fields has exceeded stipulated limits, according to association president K.K. Karnan. It results in reduced output of rice, but the millers are bound to meet the quantity requirements as per contract, causing loss. Over 30 mills, among the 100 plus rice mills in the State, have been closed down unable to bear the loss in the past few years, the owners say.

If not harvested at the earliest, there is the danger of germination of paddy.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 2:00:28 AM |

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