ALAPPUZHA: Paddy farmers of Kuttanad are in distress owing to the government’s delay in distributing procurement prices in full. The Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) had procured 1.82 lakh tonnes of paddy worth Rs 462 crore. However, only Rs 321 crore has been distributed among farmers till now.
The delay by the Civil Supplies Department in providing the full amount was affecting farmers who had started preparing for the second round of farming, said the farmers. They said most of them had started laying the groundwork for the second term of farming and the delay was putting a financial burden on them.
The procurement process of this season of ‘puncha’ crop is coming to a close in the district. This year, the paddy production and procurement has been highest in recent times. Post floods, farmers undertook ‘puncha’ farming in around 30,500 hectares in the district, in comparison to 23,000 hectares in the last season.
Officers with the Civil Supplies Department said 1.83 lakh tonnes of paddy worth Rs 462 crore was procured from 32,800 farmers in the district. “An amount of Rs 321 crore has been disbursed to 22,300 farmers. The balance amount of Rs 139 crore to 10,500 farmers will be distributed soon,” they said. The officers attributed the delay to the rise in paddy production.
“Paddy production crossed all expectations and so, more money is required than previous years to procure it. The money is being distributed among farmers as loan after pledging the paddy receipt sheet (PRS) in banks. Shortage of funds in banks is also causing some delay,” the officers said.