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Odishatv Bureau
Berhampur: Paddy procurement in the state is expected to fall around 25 per cent this year following crop loss due to drought and untimely rain.

"Although the exact quantity of decline in procurement will be assessed only after seeing the trend in the process, we fear the procurement to be 20 to 25 per cent less than the target," state’s Minister for Food Supply and Consumer Affairs, Sarada Prasad Nayak said here on Tuesday.

Paddy procurement in several districts including Ganjam was yet to be started. The delay in procurement was due to the delay in central government’s decision on relaxation of the fair average quality (FAQ) of the paddy, he said.

The state government had requested the central government to relax paddy and rice procurement norms for the state as its farmers faced drought and untimely rains which affected the quality of the paddy in the state.

Relaxation of norm will prevent distress sale of the paddy and mitigate the plight of the farmers to some extent, he said.

The state government targeted to procure around 3.2 million tones of rice this year. Orissa, according to sources, contributes about one-tenth of the country’s rice output. "The target is unlikely to be achieved following crop loss this year," the minister said.

He conducted a review on the paddy procurement arrangements in the district with officials at Chhatrapur, the district headquarter town of Ganjam.

While paddy crop in about 8.48 lakh hectares in 15 districts in the state damaged due to the drought condition during August-September, around 12 lakh hectares of agricultural land in over 26,000 villages in 23 districts suffered crop loss of more than 50 per cent due to untimely cyclonic rain in December.

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