TAMIL NADU

Samba procurement normal

CHENNAI, MARCH 11. With the samba harvest almost over, paddy procurement by the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) is in full swing in the delta districts.

It has purchased 7.75 lakh tonnes. As daily arrivals at direct purchase centres continue to be in the range of 12,000-13,000 tonnes, the TNCSC is confident of purchasing another three lakh tonnes before the end of the season.

According to corporation sources, samba paddy was raised on about 4.25 lakh hectares in the delta districts. As the average productivity is about 4 tonnes a hectare, the total production is expected to be about 17 lakh tonnes. There will not be any difficulty for the corporation crossing the 10-lakh tonne mark.

After two years, it has achieved normal procurement in the samba season, thanks to a good monsoon and adequate water supply from the Mettur reservoir. In the last two seasons, the corporation purchased less than five lakh tonnes. Last season, about 4 lakh tonnes was purchased and in the 2003 season, the procurement was a mere 1.53 lakh tonnes.

The sources said the heavy arrivals were also due to the remunerative price being offered by the corporation, on a par with the open market rates. Farmers preferred to deal with the corporation, which made immediate cash settlement.

Private traders were not interested in purchasing paddy in the delta districts as they were getting supplies from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka at a lower price, besides credit facilities.

Stocks comfortable

Heavy procurement would help the corporation improve its rice stock for the public distribution system. Under the decentralised procurement system, it serves as an agency for the Food Corporation of India. The paddy, after conversion into rice, could be adjusted against the Centre's monthly allotment to the State. So the comfortable stocks with the TNCSC would help the FCI avoid rice movement from the northern States to Tamil Nadu for the monthly allotment, the sources said.