Significant fall in Odisha’s paddy procurement

Bhubaneswar:  Odisha has registered a significant fall in paddy procurement from 44 lakh metric ton paddy last year to only 37 lakh metric ton paddy this year.

Of 11 lakh registered farmers, around 4 lakh farmers in the state  are yet to sell their Kharif paddy crop leading to a reduced crop procurement this season. The state has recorded a shortfall of around 7 lakh metric ton paddy this year, suggests official data.

Even though the state had expected to get a bumper crop this season, unseasonal rains, pest menace and delay in rains during the initial period of the season led to an extensive damage of the crop produce.

A total of 14 districts have registered decrease in procurement. Bargarh, the rice bowl of Odisha, has recorded 11 percent shortfall while the figures are even lower in Nuapada and Bolangir at 27 and 29 percent respectively.

“We had expected nearly 100 to 120 bags of paddy but rains and pest menace damaged most of our produce. Only 35 bags of paddy could be procured. I am now really worried thinking about the farm loan,” said Kishore Chandra Pradhan, a farmer of Kuchinda.

Meanwhile, government officials said the fall in procurement will have little effect. The state needs a total of 20 to 22 lakh metric ton of rice and  shortage of 7 lakh metric ton will have no effect, officials said.

“We will not face any problems due to the reduced paddy procurement. Our priority is to meet our state’s demands first; exporting is secondary,” Food and Supplies Minister Suryanarayan Patro said.