India’s rice procurement deficit narrows as the government buys more from MP Chhattisgarh in January.

Procurement of rice in the first four months since the season began on October 1 fell by nearly eight percent to 397.40 lakh tonnes (lt) from 429.85 lt a year ago. However, a 20 percent increase in purchases in January alone reduced the deficit to 14 percent by December 31, 2023. Two states – Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh – mainly contributed to the increase in purchases, officials said. “Farmers expected to sell paddy after the assembly elections as both the BJP and the Congress promised to pay a bonus over and above the minimum support price of ₹ 2,203 per quintal,” an official source said. According to the food ministry, the Center bought more than three times the amount of rice in Chhattisgarh, which is about 22 liters, and 60 percent more in Madhya Pradesh, which is about 17 liters.

In Chhattisgarh, 60.97 liters of rice were sold during the period from 01.10.2023 to 31.01.2024, which is 4 percent less than 58.65 liters a year ago. By December 31, it was down 25 percent. Despite last month’s bumper rice purchase, the total procurement in Madhya Pradesh till January 31 of 28.23 liters is still nine percent lower.

Welfare Scheme Purchases

Since the Food Corporation of India (FCI) requires approximately 410 liters of rice during the year to implement all the national welfare schemes, the Center believes that it will purchase a good amount of rice also in February-March, during the target is to buy 521.27 liters of rice in Kharif. – cultivated crops. The government has purchased 568.69 liters of rice in both kharif and rabi seasons in 2022-23. According to the agriculture ministry, kharif rice production will fall four percent to 106.31 million tonnes (mt) in the kharif season from 110.51 million tonnes a year ago. In Punjab, Haryana and other northern states, procurement was completed in December, while in western Uttar Pradesh it was completed by the end of January. FCI managed to get 125.08 liters in Punjab which is 2 percent more than last year’s 121.91 liters and in Haryana it is 39.42 liters compared to 39.51 liters in 2022-23. In Punjab this year the target was 122 liters and in Haryana 40 liters.

In western Uttar Pradesh, the Center procured 11.23 liters of rice in the current season till January 31, compared to 14.45 liters a year ago. Official purchase in Uttar Pradesh is 33.96 litres, down 16 percent from 40.53 liters a year ago. In Telangana, rice purchases are still lower and now stood at 31.65 liters compared to 41.68 liters. Rice procurement in Odisha also reported some improvement as purchases fell by only 3 percent (26 percent till December 31). On the other hand, in Andhra Pradesh, the gap is almost 40 percent. FCI can buy 29.88 liters from Odisha and 11.72 liters from Andhra Pradesh in October-January this season. Exporters are said to be very active in these two states. But West Bengal, which reported 3.44 tonnes in October-December against 86,047 tonnes a year ago, also reported an 18 percent drop in procurement to 5.98 tonnes from 7.27 tonnes.

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