MADURAI: The paddy procurement for the Kharif marketing season is expected to cross one lakh metric tonnes for the first time in Ramanathapuram after prices for paddy were increased and storage issues were resolved. The paddy procurement in the district had remained less than 10 per cent for the last few years, as farmers have been showing more interest to sell their produce in the open market.
Accordingly, the plantation has started on more than 1 lakh hectares for the Samba season. Notably, the department will open nearly 100 Direct Procurement Centres, over twice the number compared last year. It is expected the paddy procurement is likely to increase to 20 per cent for the current Kharif season.
The Kharif marketing season starts on October 1 and ends on September 30 next year. Based on the previous year, the procurement target will be set for the next marketing year.
"Though more than 5.5 lakhs metric tons of paddy was produced during the previous Samba season, the department was able to procure only 32,000 metric tons during the Kharif Marketing season 2021-2022. In the 2020-2021 season, only 19,000 metric tons of paddy was procured in the district," said sources.
Lack of proper storage to keep the paddy was one of the major reasons for the minimal procurement ratio in the previous years. A senior official from the civil supplies department said the department has proposed to establish five storage facilities in the district. "With the increase in procurement prices for this season, more farmers are likely to sell their paddy with the DPCs," he added.
Backiyanathan, a farmer from Ramnad, said, "The paddy procurement prices have increased by 100 rupees. Though it's appreciable, the government should increase the paddy procurement price to `2,500 per quintal at least to make more farmers interested in DPCs."