Despite lockdown, procurement picks pace as TS expects highest yield for the season since the formation of State seven years ago
Hyderabad: The procurement of paddy during the ongoing Yasangi (Rabi) season has picked up pace despite the 10-day lockdown imposed by the State government on Wednesday.
Against the target of 94.81 lakh tonnes of paddy, the State government has so far purchased about 34.94 lakh tonnes from farmers since the procurement commenced on April 6 this season. The State government has already issued orders exempting activities of agriculture and allied sectors from the lockdown due to which paddy procurement is continuing unabated.
Thanks to the completion of some key irrigation projects, including the prestigious Kaleswaram Lift Irrigation Scheme and uninterrupted electricity supply, the State has emerged as the rice bowl of the nation within a short span of time. With record cultivation of paddy in nearly 52.76 lakh acre in the ongoing Yasangi season, the State expects a yield of more than 1.38 crore tonnes, the highest for the season since State formation seven years ago.
Of the total paddy yield of 1.38 crore tonnes this season, about 1.17 crore tonnes will be coarse variety and another 21 lakh tonnes will be fine variety. The State government had set a target of purchasing about 94 lakh tonnes which will be supplied to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and also cater to the needs of the State government’s rice distribution programmes including free rice to private teachers and others during the Covid-19 pandemic. The remaining paddy is expected to be purchased by millers and seed companies.
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao had already announced that the State government would purchase the entire paddy crop produced by farmers this year as well keeping in view the pandemic. The government has also given a counter-guarantee to the Telangana State Civil Supplies Corporation to avail a loan of Rs 20,000 crore.
The State government proposed to open 7,183 procurement centres across the State. So far, about 6,668 centres have been opened and new centres are being opened based on harvesting of paddy being taken up in those respective areas. The Civil Supplies Corporation has already purchased nearly 34.94 lakh tonnes of paddy worth over Rs 6,590.74 crore and cleared the dues of Rs 2,943.30 crore to farmers. Officials have made arrangements to procure paddy in strict adherence to Covid-19 guildelines.
Anticipating shortage of godown spaces, gunny bags and Hamalis following the experiences during the previous lockdown, the Civil Supplies Corporation made arrangements by clearing excess stocks of paddy in the godowns and arranged for over 20 crore gunny bags. The officials already held a meeting with the rice millers and made arrangements for Hamalis who mainly hail from Bihar and other North Indian States, for loading and unloading works.
However, rain this week played spoilsport and slowed down paddy purchase to a minor extent as the harvested crop got wet in some places. However, the officials have been already instructed to coordinate with the Rythu Bandhu Samithis and other district level farmers organisations to ensure that the damaged crop was also purchased to protect the farmers’ interest.
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