Government's rice procurement has increased 25% to 24.47 million tonnes in the 2015-16 marketing year so far despite prospects of lower production due to poor monsoon.
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government owned agencies undertake the procurement operations. The Centre has kept rice procurement target of 30 MT for the current marketing year, which started in October.
These agencies had procured 19.66 million tonnes in the year-ago period, while the total purchases had reached 32 MT.
At present, procurement has been completed in Punjab and Haryana, while the operations are in full swing in Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
As per the government's latest data, rice procurement in Uttar Pradesh has risen to 2.15 MT so far this year as against 1.15 MT in the year-ago period.
Procurement in Chhattisgarh risen to 3.72 MT from 2.86 MT, while that of in Andhra Pradesh has increased to 1.92 MT from 1 MT in the said period.
Rice purchase in Telangana was lagging behind at 0.99 MT so far this year as against 1.48 MT in the same period of the 2014-15 marketing year.
In Punjab, rice procurement rose to 9.34 MT from 7.7 MT, while that of in Haryana jumped to 2.85 MT from 2.01 MT in the period under the review.
Though rice production is estimated to be lower because of deficit rains, procurement of the grain has been on rise mainly due to fall in prices of common variety in most mandis after basmati rice rates declined sharply.
If the current trend continues, a senior Food Ministry official said the overall rice procurement could surpass the last year's level.
In its first estimate, the Agriculture Ministry has projected a fall in kharif rice production to 90.61 MT in the 2015-16 crop year (July-June) from 90.86 MT in the year-ago period due to 14% fall in monsoon rains.
The agencies buy paddy from farmers and give to millers for conversion into rice. The government has fixed the minimum support price of common variety of paddy at Rs 1,410 per quintal for 2015-16 kharif season.
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