JAGATSINGHPUR: With just 20 days left for the paddy procurement process to begin and a target of 5.88 lakh quintal kharif paddy to be lifted from rural areas of Jagatsinghpur district, non-finalisation of rice millers has left the farmers worried about their prospects.
The paddy procurement will start from December 27 but the administration is yet to decide on the millers. In the absence of millers in the district, the administration had invited applications from millers of other districts to procure paddy. Though every year millers from other districts participate in the process, this year there has been a delay in the finalisation of millers.
Sources said as many as 24,527 farmers have registered online for the procurement process. A total of 99 paddy procurement centres will be opened at 99 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) and 30 rice millers will be pressed into service to lift paddy from the farmers. The minimum support price has been fixed at `1,470 per quintal for normal paddy and `1,510 for grade A variety.
District Civil Supply Officer Raghunath Gamango said against the requirement of 30 millers to lift the targeted paddy, only 10 from other districts have responded to the invitation of district administration and selection is yet to be completed.
Secretary of Live and Let Live (LALL), a research-based unit, Khetramohan Behera said a minimum of 220 days is required for a rice mill to make its business viable failing which it would not earn profits.
But Jagatsinghpur district’s kharif paddy produce would provide only 150 days of work for the rice mill and due to this the millers are not coming forward.
Sources said the millers from other districts are unwilling to participate citing losses due to transportation cost that they would have to bear for shifting the procured paddy.