Though it was expected that more than one lakh metric tonnes of paddy would be procured from the district in the current first crop season, paddy officer Abdul Majeed has said that only 75,000 metric tonnes would be procured.
He said that the paddy was procured from 3,284 farmers and they were paid Rs 33.93 crore. He said that farmers were paid till November 1 and the pending amount will be cleared soon.
All dues of the last paddy crop procured from the farmers from the district were cleared, he added.
The delay in the procurement and the slow phase forced the farmers to sell paddy to private mill owners at a lower price than the support price of Rs 26.95 per kilo fixed as procurement price by the state government.
Though paddy procurement had started in the district from October 4, only four rice mills were procuring it from farmers creating undue suffering to the farmers who had no facility to store the harvested paddy and many farmers faced loss due to the rain in which they lost up to half of their yield. The paddy farmers of Palakkad ‘the rice bowl of Kerala’ are in dire straits during this first crop harvest season as the Supplyco and the private mill owners had failed to procure the majority of the paddy produced. It is the usual tactics of the private mill owners to delay the paddy procurement during every harvest season and use the opportunity to purchase paddy from farmers through their agents at a lower price. Unfortunately, the Supplyco was also found siding with the mill owners to loot the farmers, thereby defeating the very purpose of the paddy procurement scheme, the farmers said.