Paddy procurement is gaining momentum in Uttar Pradesh with state agencies having bought nearly 28 lakh metric tons in the current Kharif marketing season.
As paddy procurement stood under 20 lakh MT during the corresponding period in 2018, the state has clocked a 40 per cent increase in the current season so far.
The government aims to procure 50 lakh MT paddy this year.
The procurement season started on October 1 and will continue till February, 2020, covering all districts in phases.
About 3,860 procurement centres, including more than 100 run by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), have been set up across the state to facilitate direct purchase from farmers.
So far, nearly Rs 5,700 crore have been paid to paddy farmers by the government even as procurement continues.
“Under previous regimes, paddy farmers in the state were paid their dues after delays of more than three months. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party regime has ensured that farmers are paid promptly and the money is deposited in their bank accounts for the paddy procured from them,” Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi said on Saturday.
In 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, UP had procured 35 lakh MT, 43 lakh MT and 49 lakh MT paddy respectively against the season’s target of 50 lakh MT.
Earlier, in September 2019, the UP cabinet had announced paddy procurement policy for 2019-20 season and increased the minimum support price (MSP) to Rs 1,835 per quintal for grade A paddy, apart from providing Rs 20 per quintal extra to farmers as transport and other support charges that effectively increased the net payable amount to Rs 1,855 per quintal.
The policy is aimed at facilitating robust procurement of food grain and promoting contract farming and share cropping for increasing farm income and boosting export of agricultural commodities.
UP is not only among the major paddy producing states but a big consumer of rice as well. The state annually requires almost 40 lakh MT of custom milled rice for consumption every year.
As per market players, UP exports Basmati and other rice varieties to a few third world countries, including Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In 2018-19 agricultural marketing seasons, UP logged total grain production of more than 60 lakh MT, the highest so far.