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India Paddy procurement not likely from Sept 21
The Centre Government is all set to give another jolt to the Punjab Government. It is not inclined to start the “early” procurement of paddy in the state. The state Government wanted that the procurement by the official agencies should start from September 21 instead of October 1.
A few days ago, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh , wrote to the Union Food Ministry to start the procurement of paddy from September 21.
Sources said the Food Corporation of India (FCI) had refused to procure paddy early taking the plea that the moisture level would be very high in the paddy and it would not be advisable to start the procurement for various technical reasons from September 21. Because of the FCI, the state government procurement agencies will also not be able to procure paddy as they procure paddy on behalf of the FCI for the central pool.
The paddy with a high-moisture level start disfiguring very fast and because of it the quality of the rice, that is prepared from it, is also low. However, the state government says that between September 21 and October 1 about 10 lakh tonnes of paddy will arrive in the state markets.
If the procurement of paddy is not started in September, then farmers will have to sell paddy during this period at a throwaway price to traders. Even in the past, it has been seen that traders take full advantage of the absence of the official procurement agencies and exploit farmers fully by offering far less price than the minimum support price.
The source said the Managing Director of the state government procurement agencies had held a meeting with Union Ministry officials in the second week of August. Later, on August 26, senior officers of the Punjab Government held a meeting with their counterparts in the Union Government to start the procurement of paddy in September. But, the Union Government had not given any assurance in this connection yet.
The source said the Punjab Food Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, sought an appointment with the Union Food Minister on the issue of procurement long back. But till date, he had not been given any appointment by the Union Food Ministry though the receipt of his letter by the officers concerned in the Union Government had been confirmed.
The sources said because of drought, the Punjab did not face any problem with regard to the procurement of paddy last year. But this year, the situation would be totally different. The monsoon season, as per the prevailing indications, was likely to continue till the September end. So, the moisture level would continue to be on the higher side.
And even if the procurement starts from October 1, there will be problems in the procurement of paddy because of the high moisture level. As per the criteria laid down by the FCI, the moisture level in the paddy to be procured should not exceed 18 point in any case. However, under pressure of the state government, the agencies procure the paddy with a moisture level up to 21 point.
Earlier, the Union Government turned down the state government’s plea to enhance the minimum support price paddy.
MGR Archive 3.9.2003
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Region Type Price  
Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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