Hyderabad: Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct Food Corporation of India (FCI) to confirm the target of procurement of rice from Telangana during ensuing rabi season and to enhance the target beyond 40 lakh metric tonnes during the ongoing kharif to 90 per cent of production as was being done in Punjab.
In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Chandrashekar Rao requested him to complete the procurement of balance 5 lakh metric tonnes rice produced in rabi 2020-21.
"The FCI, which has the mandate of ensuring food security for the people by maintaining the buffer stocks and supplying rice and wheat through the public distribution system is following certain policies which are creating confusion in the minds of farmers and as well as
the state governments. These policies are that the target of procurement is not fixed for the entire year in one go. Even though the production is increasing year after year, the procurement is not keeping pace," Rao noted.
The Chief Minister brought to the notice of the Prime Minister that due to these policies of the FCI, it was becoming difficult for states to plan an appropriate cropping pattern and explain the same to the farmers.
"For instance, even though the production of rice in Telangana during kharif 2021 was 55.87 lakh metric tonnes, the procurement was only 32.66 lakh MTs, which is 59 per cent of the production. This was less than the 78 per cent procured in kharif 2019-20. Such wide variations in procurement levels do not allow the state government to implement a rational cropping pattern," Rao said.
Explaining the efforts made by him to clear these confusions by meeting union minister for food and public distribution Piyush Goyal twice in Delhi recently on September 25 and 26, Rao, in his letter to the Prime Minister, said, "I requested union minister Piyush Goyal that the annual target for procurement be fixed immediately. It has been 50 days since I have met him but no policy decision has been taken and communicated to us."
Chandrashekar Rao also informed Modi about how Telangana emerged as one of the top rice producing states in the country after its formation in 2014. "Before the formation of the state, there was drought and hunger prevalent everywhere. Today, due to the enormous increase in irrigation facilities, Telangana is not only able to meet its food grains requirement but has become a huge grain surplus state. The farmers of Telangana are now able to produce for the rest of the country," he added.
Stating that Telangana had achieved tremendous progress in the agriculture sector since 2014 due to a series of policies and measures taken by the state government, Rao said, "The farmers were given encouragement in terms of investment support of Rs 10,000 per acre per year and free 24x7 quality power. The hardworking farmers of Telangana have increased the yields in a significant way, thereby contributing to the progress of the country."