BHUBANESWAR: Despite cash crunch, Odisha Government has procured 3.58 lakh tonne of paddy from 53,000 farmers in nine districts of the State.
Though the total value of the procured paddy is about Rs 526 crore, the Government has already paid Rs 409 crore to farmers online, said Minister of State for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Sanjay Dasburma on Tuesday.
After a review meeting with officials of Food Supplies and Cooperative Departments, the Minister said paddy procurement is underway in 67 blocks of nine districts through 255 Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS).
While demonetisation has affected paddy procurement in the State, Dasburma said farmers are facing difficulties in withdrawing money.
Paddy procurement was started in Atabira, Godabhaga and Kolapani blocks of Bargarh district from November 15.
Alleging distress sale of paddy in western Odisha districts, the Congress on the day said farmers are selling their paddy to private traders as the Government has failed to open required numbers of mandis.
President of Congress Farmers' Cell Amiya Patnaik further alleged that farmers are not getting minimum support price.
The State Government has fixed a procurement target of 30 lakh tonne of rice for 2016-17 kharif marketing season (KMS). The minimum support price for common variety of paddy has been fixed at Rs 1,470 per quintal while that for Grade-A variety is Rs 1,510 per quintal.
In KMS 2014-15 and 2015-16, 52.45 lakh tonne and 50.81 lakh tonne paddy were procured respectively.