New Delhi: The government's rice procurement rose marginally to 69.89 lakh tonnes (LT) so far in the 2017-18 marketing year that started this month, compared to 69.31 LT in the year-ago, a senior Food Ministry official said.
Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for procurement and distribution, had procured 381 LT in the 2016-17 marketing season (October-September). For the current year, the government has fixed a higher rice procurement target at 375 LT on hopes of good production.
"The arrival of paddy is picking up in mandis. Till last week, about 111 LT of paddy had arrived in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh," the official told PTI.
FCI and state agencies, which normally buy in rice format, have procured 41.33 LT of the grain in Punjab and 28.56 LT in Haryana so far.
The procurement in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand has just begun and will pick up pace in the coming days, the official said adding that a little over 22,000 tonnes have been procured from Uttar Pradesh so far.
The procurement is being done at minimum support prices (MSP). For 2017-18, paddy MSP of 'common' grade variety has been fixed at Rs 1,550 per quintal, while that of 'A' grade variety at Rs 1,590 per quintal.
Rice output is pegged at 94.48 million tonnes in the kharif 2017-18 season, slightly lower than 96.39 million tonnes in the year-ago, as per the Agriculture Ministry's first estimate. A small quantity of rice come from rabi season also,
sowing of which will begin soon.