KENDRAPARA: Unseasonal rain during kharif harvest season has taken a toll on paddy procurement in the district this year.
District Supply Officer Rajanikanta Das said only 4.92 lakh quintal paddy has been procured by Odisha State Civil Supply Corporation (OSCSC) from farmers across the district till date against 8 lakh quintal last year.
A target to procure 6.64 lakh quintal paddy was set in the district this kharif season. However, officials hope more paddy will be sold by farmers by March 31, the last day of procurement in the district.
Besides, lack of proper connectivity too has affected procurement in the district. President of district unit of Krusaka Sabha Umesh Chandra Singh said farmers of remote and inaccessible villages are resorting to distress sale due to absence of proper connectivity.
Sabuj Mandal, of Batighar village said it is not possible for farmers like him to carry their produce to the mandi at Ramnagar, located around 15 km from the village, by crossing Nasi river.
“I sold three quintal paddy for Rs 3,600. I am aware of the MSP of Rs 1,815 fixed by the Government for a quintal of FAQ paddy. But a few rice traders came to my village to collect paddy and we sold our stock to them,” he said.
Similar is the plight of farmers from villages in Mahakalapada who risk their lives by crossing rivers and creeks on rickety boats to reach markets in the block. Several traders, taking advantage of the situation, procure paddy from such farmers at prices lower than the MSP.
The district administration had engaged 116 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) to procure paddy from farmers.
After purchasing the stock, the PACS will hand it over to 14 rice mills in the district. Four years back, the administration had blacklisted two rice mills for not complying with the rules and regulations of OSCSC. The authorities had fixed `1,815 for a quintal of Fair Average Quality (FAQ) paddy.