Paddy procurement is gaining momentum in Uttar Pradesh with the state agencies purchasing nearly 2.8 million tonnes (MT) in the current kharif marketing season.
Since, paddy procurement had stood under 2 MT during the corresponding period last year, UP has clocked 40 per cent upswing in the season so far.
The Adityanath government is targetting procurement of 5 MT of paddy this year. The procurement season started on October 1 and will continue till February 2020-end, 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 UP to facilitate direct purchase from farmers. So far, nearly Rs 5,700 crore had been paid to the paddy farmers by the government even as procurement continues to be robust.
“Under the previous regimes, the paddy farmers in UP were paid their dues after long delays of more than three months. However, the Yogi government has ensured that the farmers are paid promptly in their bank accounts against the procurement of paddy,” UP agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi told Business Standard here.
In 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, UP had posted paddy procurement figures of 3.5, 4.3 MT and 4.9 MT respectively against the season’s target of 5 MT.
Earlier, the state cabinet in September 2019 had announced the paddy procurement policy for 2019-20 season, which 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, which effectively increases the net payable to Rs 1,855 per quintal in UP.
The policy is aimed at facilitating robust procurement of the food grain and promoting contract farming and share cropping for increasing the 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 under the public distribution system (PDS). The state annually requires almost 4 MT of custom milled rice for consumption.
The institutional procurement mechanism ensures adequate contribution to the central PDS pool, apart from facilitating remunerative prices to farmers and setting a price benchmark for their produce. The state farmers are also free to sell paddy to private purchasers or traders if they get better prices.
According to the market players, UP basmati and other rice varieties to a few third world countries including Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc.
In 2018-19 agricultural marketing season, UP logged total food grain production of more than 60.4 MT, which was highest so far. In kharif season 2019, UP is estimated to produce more than 20.33 MT of the food grain, including 189,000 tonnes of oilseeds.