BHUBANESWAR: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has urged his Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution counterpart, Piyush Goyal to lift surplus parboiled rice from Odisha during kharif marketing season (KMS) 2023-24 for which procurement has already commenced.
Stating Odisha had a bumper harvest this season, Pradhan requested Goyal to augment the procurement target for the state and instruct the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to procure an additional 10 lakh tonne of parboiled rice from farmers. Pradhan’s intervention came after the Centre fixed a target to procure 44.28 lakh tonne of rice from the state during kharif marketing season 2023-24 for the central pool against 53.83 lakh tonne procured in the last kharif season.
“The rice yield has been indeed phenomenal during this kharif season and an estimated 79 lakh tonne rice will be collected from farmers. Since enough parboiled rice would be left after the state’s requirement of rice for food security and other welfare schemes, it needs to be evacuated by FCI,” he observed.
Odisha is the fourth largest paddy-producing state in the country after Punjab, Telangana, and Chhattisgarh. It has been undertaking MSP operations for the procurement of paddy in decentralised mode since 2013-14. While such decentralised procurement has improved the outreach of MSP support to paddy growers, the rice milling industry overwhelmingly produces parboiled rice as Odisha is primarily a parboiled rice-consuming state.
The rice milled from the paddy procured is generally used under National Food Security Act, state food security scheme and other welfare initiatives. If the surplus rice is not lifted, sources said, it would severely hit the state’s paddy procurement operations and affect around 10 lakh farmers.
Pradhan has urged Goyal to enhance the initial allocation of procurement target as it would fetch lakhs of farmers good returns in terms of minimum support price (MSP). Once the procurement target is augmented, it would significantly help secure the livelihood of farmers whose main source of earning has been paddy, he added. The surplus rice has been a contentious issue between the state and the Centre for the last few years. An estimated 20 lakh tonne surplus rice is left every year in the state after it meets all its requirements.
Pradhan has sought lifting of additional 10 lakh tonne parboiled rice from state’s farmers
He has urged Goyal to enhance the initial allocation of procurement target
Around 20 lakh tonne surplus rice is left every year in the state