KARAIKAL: The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has started procuring paddy from farmers in Karaikal on Thursday. The food corporation is aiming to directly procure around 3,000 metric tonnes of paddy this year after a modest procurement last year.
The Kharif Marketing Season (KMF) procurement officially began on January 1, but the arrival of paddy at FCI centres commenced on Thursday.
The two procurement centres - Karaikal Marketing Committee centre and Modern Rice Mill in Thennangudi - will accept paddy from farmers until April 30. Collector A Kulothungan, FCI's Puducherry division manager Mamta Rani, FCI's Karaikal quality control manager V Abhinesh and farmer representatives were present during the season's first procurement at the Marketing Committee centre on Thursday.
The FCI has been directly procuring paddy from Karaikal farmers for the past three years, following a request from the Puducherry government. In contrast, FCI operates in the state through nodal agency TNCSC under the Tamil Nadu civil supplies department.
As per Union government's minimum support price policy, Grade A paddy is being procured at Rs 2,203 per quintal, while common class paddy is being purchased at Rs 2,183 per quintal.
The food corporation is optimistic about reaching its target of procuring around 3,000 metric tonnes of paddy before the April 30 deadline.
"We procured only around 80 metric tonnes last year due to higher price of paddy offered by traders in the open market. We are looking forward to achieving our target this year by spreading more awareness," an FCI official said.
A reason for such a low procurement is because the FCI follows stringent quality control measures while private traders do not adhere to such parameters.
Meanwhile, farmers have requested for mobile procurement or on-spot procurement for bulk quantities of paddy from rural areas. "We request the Puducherry government and the district administration facilitate transport for bulk quantities of paddy to FCI centres," said BG Somu, a farmer representative.