Punjab crosses 10 mn tonnes paddy procurement

October 29th, 2008 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Oct 29 (IANS) Having crossed the 10-million-tonne mark of paddy procurement in just 28 days this year, Punjab is targeting to better the record paddy procurement of 14 million tonnes, food and supplies officials said here Wednesday.The paddy procurement that started Oct 1 this year crossed the 10-million-tonne figure Monday evening in 1,622 procurement centres in grain markets across the state.

“We are targeting a procurement of 145 lakh (14.5 million) tonnes this year. This is higher than the record of 140 lakh (14 million) tonnes achieved in 2004-05,” a food and supplies official said.

Officials said up to 500,000 tonnes of paddy was being procured everyday.

Much of the procurement in Punjab is being done by six government agencies - five state government agencies and the Food Corp of India (FCI) of the central government.

The share of procurement of paddy by private rice millers has fallen from over 18 percent last year to just over seven percent this year, officials said. This is mainly owing to the central government’s ban on export of non-basmati variety of rice.

The agencies have made a payment of Rs.77.63 billion to farmers in less than a month after procurement began. Food and Supplies Minister Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon has directed officials to release payments to farmers within 48 hours of the paddy being purchased.

Officials claimed that 99 percent of farmers have already been paid their dues this year.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has sanctioned a credit cash limit of over Rs.126.23 billion to the Punjab government for smooth procurement this season.

In the neighbouring Haryana, the procurement by the state agencies reached nearly 3 million tonnes Wednesday.

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