Hyderabad: Rice production in Telangana has increased by more than 20 per cent on a year-on-year basis. The production has now touched 1.3 crore tonne for the year 2019-20. It was 62.5 lakh tonnes in 2017-18, 51.7 lakh tonnes in 2016-17 and 29.6 lakh tonnes in 2015-16.
Also, Telangana accounted for about 63 per cent of Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) total paddy procurement across the country till date, a record of sorts for the farmers of the State. With increase in land under irrigation, the rice production is going to increase further in the coming years, said industry body FTCCI in a report.
More than 60 lakh acres of additional land was brought under irrigation due to completion of many major and minor irrigation projects such as Kaleshwaram project, Devadula Project and revival of tanks under Mission Kakatiya.
Availability of water coupled with 24×7 free power supply to farmers contributed to substantial improvement in productivity and production of food grains and pulses, said FTCCI report titled as ‘Rice exports from Telangana: Opportunities and way forward,’ which was presented to Telangana State Planning Board Vice-chairman B Vinod Kumar.
Telangana, which grows rice in about 14.19 lakh hectare, has seen its share to the national rice production improve considerably from 2.84% in 2015-16 to 5.54% by 2017-18, doubling the production levels in three years. Rice production at the national level is pegged at 117.47 million tonnes in 2019-20.
However, Telangana’s share in total rice exports of non-basmati from India did not improve much. Telangana, which exported 10,425 tonnes during 2019-20, accounted for just 0.21 per cent of the total exports of 5.08 million tonnes at national level. Andhra Pradesh, during the same time, exported 16.9 lakh tonnes (which is 33.6 per cent of the total India exports). Telangana recorded considerable growth in exports in the first half of 2020-21 along with overall exports from India due to Covid-19 crisis and due to drastic fall in exports from Thailand and Vietnam.
Challenges for exporters
Exporters flagged high transportation cost, terminal handling charges, higher pesticides residues in rice and dearth of infrastructure facilities, the report said adding that Telangana’s strict implementation of minimum support price for paddy made the rice purchases from the State relatively costlier compared to other States. TS can follow the Taiwan model, where the government buys paddy and auctions for the exporters to buy at market price, the report suggested.
New integrated container depot should be considered at Dichpally or Jankampet in Nizamabad, which already have warehouse facilities, to cater to rice growing districts Nizamabad, Adilabad and Karimnagar. The current two ICDs -Sanathnagar and Timmapally- are making transport of the bulk good costly, the report said. Terminal handling charges are zero for exports to Singapore from Chennai Sea Port. However, but for consignments to be sent from ICD Sanathnagar or ICD Timmapur, the charges are high at Rs 9000 to 10,000 per container, it said.
Large multinational companies like Nestle were procuring rice from Telangana but now have stopped buying due to As contamination, the FTCCI report said. Telangana is encouraging cultivators to shift from long grain paddy variety to short grain paddy variety named as ‘Telangana Sona’ to increase the fine variety rice production. However, exporters feel that only long grain rice has demand in the international market and shifting to a short grain variety may affect the exports adversely, it pointed out.
TS should consider developing export zones in the State for growing specific varieties of non-basmati and basmati varieties of crop. Egypt, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines are the potential markets.
Telangana State has about 2,000 rice mills and these can be modernised by giving some incentives. It is necessary to improve quality, productivity, Modern milling capacity, better testing, storage and handling infrastructure to effectively market to other countries and also to provide better income to farmers. Train connectivity via Nizamabad and Aurangabad to Mumbai Port makes export-import activity in the region attractive, boosts economic activities and strengthen the economy.
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