Hyderabad: Telangana is likely become the largest producer of paddy in the country yet again. With paddy being cultivated in about 55 lakh acres during the ongoing Vaanakalam (Kharif) season, the paddy production estimates are pegged at 1.48 crore tonnes. Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy instructed the officials to create adequate godown space for storing the paddy.
While the Food Corporation of India (FCI) had already agreed to procure 60 lakh tonnes of paddy, the State government has decided to urge the former to purchase another 15-20 lakh tonnes of paddy additionally. The issue will be taken up with Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao before writing to the Central government.
Reviewing the paddy production estimates and procurement for Vaanakalam season at his residence in the Ministers’ Quarters here on Tuesday, Niranjan Reddy said the State requires about 56 lakh tonnes paddy to cater to the needs of its four crore population. An estimated 20 lakh tonnes are supplied to neighbouring States. It was observed that paddy cultivation had increased due to delayed rains. “Paddy cultivation is increasing in the States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other neighbouring States due to which purchase of our produce had declined.
Further, farmers are advised not to cultivate coarse variety of paddy as people are increasingly shifting to consumption of fine variety of paddy and FCI will not purchase coarse variety of paddy,” he said.
The Agriculture Minister stressed on reducing paddy cultivation and instead, promote cultivation of alternative crops including oil seeds like groundnut, sesame, mustard and sunflower which can require less investment and give good returns on the yield. He suggested for creating awareness among farmers to complete the harvesting of Yasangi crops by March 31 itself, to avoid crop damage due to hailstorms, unseasonal rains and torrential rains. The FCI has been asked to take steps for lifting paddy stocks procured during the last Yasangi season and creating adequate space in the godowns to accommodate the paddy yield during the Vaanakalam season.
Niranjan Reddy said there is severe shortage of godown space in the State as majority of them were full to their capacity and are unlikely to be vacated before the arrival of the Vaanakalam yield. He has decided to convene a seperate meeting with the officials to discuss and take measures for increasing the godown capacity in the State. A detailed project report was already submitted to the government for increasing the godown space upto 40 lakh tonnes as per the Chief Minister’s directions. The Marketing department is planning to invite interested persons to establish high-capacity godowns by offering subsidy in construction cost and a decision in this regard will be taken after taking permission from the Chief Minister.
Telangana State Civil Supplies Corporation chairman Mareddy Srinivas Reddy, Civil Supplies commisioner Anil Kumar, special commissioner Hanmanth, Marketing director Laxmi Bai, FCI general manager Deepak Sharma and others, were present.
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