MSP Paddy Purchases Commence: Season 2023-24 Brings Promising Influx in Punjab, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu
The new season for paddy procurement under the Minimum Support Price (MSP) scheme has officially commenced for the year 2023-24.
As always, this is a much-anticipated event for the farming community, especially in the prime paddy producing regions of Punjab, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu. Here, we delve into the current state of paddy procurement and what can be expected in the coming weeks.
The Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a mechanism introduced by the Government of India to ensure that farmers are guaranteed a minimum price for their produce, thereby shielding them from any sharp fall in market prices.
The MSP for paddy has been a focal point of many agricultural policies and debates over the years, especially in the context of ensuring food security for the nation.
As the new season commences, initial reports suggest a relatively slow start to the arrivals of paddy in the procurement centers.
This can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the delay in the maturation of the crop in some areas and logistical challenges.
However, expectations remain high. Given the favorable climatic conditions observed during the sowing and growing period, a bumper harvest is anticipated.
The states of Punjab, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu, traditionally major contributors to the paddy pool of the country, are poised to witness a surge in arrivals in the next two weeks.
In the past, the initial weeks of the procurement season have generally witnessed slower arrivals, which subsequently pick up pace as the season advances. This year is likely to follow a similar trend.
1.Punjab:Widely known as the “Granary of India,” Punjab’s contribution to the country’s paddy stocks is substantial. This year, aided by good monsoon rains and better farm management practices, the state is expected to record higher yields. Officials anticipate a marked rise in paddy arrivals at the mandis in the coming fortnight.
2.Haryana: Another major paddy producer, Haryana, too, is gearing up for a robust inflow. The state government has made arrangements to ensure smooth procurement, including the setting up of additional procurement centers and digitizing the procurement process to minimize delays.
3.Tamil Nadu:While not as prodigious a contributor as the northern states, Tamil Nadu’s paddy production is crucial for the region. The state has witnessed favorable conditions this season, and there’s an expectation of higher arrivals in the designated procurement centers soon.
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies have started the paddy procurement drive for the kharif season of 2023–24 (October–September) in the key producing states of Punjab, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu. To date, a total of about 0.73 million tonne (MT) of paddy has been purchased, which is slightly more than last year.
The effort to purchase rice this year will be closely watched since, despite a bigger area under paddy cultivation, the unequal distribution of monsoon rainfall this season (June-September) may have an influence on the yield of rice production in the 2023–24 crop year (July–June).
In contrast to the 49.5 MT of grain bought previous season, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies set a target for this kharif season of 52.1 million tonnes (MT) of rice (77.4 MT of paddy). The agencies want to buy grain from states like Punjab (12.2 MT), Chhattisgarh (6.1 MT), Telangana (5 MT), Odisha (4.4 MT), Uttar Pradesh (4.4 MT), and Haryana (4 MT), according to their state-by-state procurement targets for rice.
According to food ministry representatives, the agencies have so far acquired 0.73 MT of paddy from the farmers under the Minimum Support Price (MSP) against an arrival of 0.99 MT of paddy in Haryana, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab.
Although still in their early stages, paddy arrivals in mandis, particularly in Punjab and Haryana, are likely to become one of the main contributors to the central pool stocks by the middle of this month. Paddy arrives in mandis in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu during October and November, whereas grain arrives in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and other important producing states between December and January.
FCI and state agencies have purchased more than 56.94 MT of rice in the 2022–23 season, in both the kharif and rabi seasons. A record 135.5 MT of rice was expected to be produced in 2022–2023.
In 41.1 million hectares (MH), higher than the previous five-year average of 39.9 MH and up 3% from the previous year, rice has been transplanted.
The corporation had 31.42 MT of rice as of Sunday, including 9.2 MT of grain that was still owed to the millers. The supply of rice is below the 10.25 MT buffer for October 1.
It provides 35 MT of rice each year to the National Food Security Act (NFSA) recipients.
Significant contributions are made to the central rice pool by states like Punjab, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, which is utilised to provide grain to NFSA recipients. The rice purchased from states with grain surpluses is also used to maintain a reserve stock with FCI. In comparison to the last season, the government has increased the MSP of the common type of paddy by more than 7% to Rs 2,183/quintal.
FCI and state agencies buy paddy from farmers, which is then given to millers to be made into rice. The ratio of paddy to rice is 67%.
Rice retail inflation in August was 12.54% on an annual basis, slightly higher than in July. White rice exports were prohibited by the government last month in an effort to increase domestic supply.
To lower the prices of its stock, FCI is now selling 2.5 MT of rice in the open market.
While the prospects look promising, challenges persist. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring safety at procurement centers remains paramount. The governments of these states have been working to enforce safety protocols and have adopted digital mechanisms to reduce human contact.
Further, to prevent congestion and ensure social distancing, staggered timings, and extension of procurement duration are being considered in various regions.
The commencement of the MSP paddy procurement season is always a significant event for the agricultural sector. As the season unfolds, it will be crucial to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their produce while maintaining the safety standards necessitated by the pandemic.
With robust systems in place and a proactive approach, the states of Punjab, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu are set to facilitate a smooth and productive procurement season.