Odisha targets 30 lakh ton rice procurement in 2015-16

Bhubaneswar: Keeping in view the possible crop damage due to scanty rainfall in the state, the Odisha government today fixed a target of procuring 30 lakh ton of rice for the 2015-16 kharif season.

This was part of the Food and Procurement Policy for Kharif Marketing Season 2015-16 approved at the state Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“The government agencies will procure paddy equivalent to 30 lakh ton of rice. While the target is to procure 23 lakh ton of rice during the kharif season, another seven lakh ton of rice will be purchased from farmers in the rabi season,” Chief Secretary G C Pati said.

The target this time was less by around 5.5 lakh ton of rice as the state government had procured 35.46 lakh ton of rice during 2014-15.

“We have lowered the target based on the agriculture department’s forecast of less production of paddy due to scanty rainfall,” Pati said.

State agencies like Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited, National Agriculture Co-Operative Marketing Federation, Odisha State Co-Operative Marketing Federation, Tribal Development Co-Operative Corporation of Odisha Limited and National Federation of Farmers’ Procurement, Processing and Retailing Co-Operatives of India Limited would procure paddy in the state, either directly from the farmers or with help of PACS (primary agriculture cooperative societies), SHGs (self help groups) and Pani Panchayat, the Chief Secretary said.

The Centre has fixed the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 1,410 per quintal of common paddy and Rs 1,450 per quintal of Grade-A paddy during the kharif marketing season, 2015-16.

Pati said though online system of payment for farmers was implemented in 60 blocks last year, this time it would be extended to 100 more blocks.

About 90 per cent of paddy procurement takes place from these identified 160 blocks, he said, adding, as many as eight lakh farmers have been so far registered for paddy procurement.

“The collectors have been instructed to prepare a district procurement plan for ensuring even spread of paddy procuring centres (PPCs), availability of equipment at PPCs and quality control training. Publicity for procurement will be made in mass media, pamphlets and hoardings,” Pati said.

Emphasis would be laid on opening a large number of PPCs to be run by PACs, SHG and Pani Panchayat on behalf of the state agencies.