With no clarity on paddy procurement by the Centre and state government, farmers are forced to sell paddy to millers for a loss of up to Rs 500 per quintal. (Representational Photo:PTI)
HYDERABAD: While the Centre and the state governments are engaged in a war of words over paddy procurement during rabi season without giving any clarity whether they will procure or not, rice millers in the state allegedly started exploiting the situation to their advantage.
It is alleged that millers are forming syndicates to procure paddy from farmers for a price much lower than MSP (minimum support price). With no clarity on paddy procurement by the Centre and state government, farmers are forced to sell paddy to millers for a loss of up to Rs 500 per quintal.
Nearly 70 lakh tonnes of paddy is ready for procurement in rabi. Since there is a scope for unseasonal rains and hailstorms during rabi in summer season as was witnessed several times earlier which resulted in heavy loss off paddy in agriculture fields and market yards, anxious farmers are rushing to rice millers to sell their stocks. They are worried that they would suffer huge losses in the event of unseasonal rains and hailstorms.
Millers are said to be taking advantage of this season and fixing rates ranging from Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,600 per quintal against MSP of Rs 1,940.
Farmers say before the 'paddy war' escalated between the Centre and the state government, millers used to pay higher price for superfine rice varieties which was more than MSP due to good demand from buyers in the market. But, the millers have now slashed the price of even superfine varieties.
"Superfine rice varieties such as Chintla and HMT used to fetch Rs 2,100 to Rs 2,200 per quintal but millers now offer just Rs 1,800 to Rs 1,900 per quintal. This price remains the same in all the districts. This was not the case earlier. There was price variation in districts and we had the opportunity to sell our stocks wherever the price was high," said Chinna Ramulu, a farmer from Miryalaguda.
There are a total of 2,500 rice mills in Telangana, of which 1,500 are parboiled rice mills and 1,000 raw rice mills. Majority of the mills are located in undivided Nalgonda, Karimnagar and Warangal districts.
All millers reportedly reached an understanding by conducting meetings among themselves and arrived at a common price for which every miller should stick, without giving any scope for competition and price escalation among themselves.