Uttar Pradesh has clocked the highest paddy procurement figures of more than 5.15 million tonnes (MT) with about five weeks still left in the current 2019-20 kharif marketing season.
While, the state has exceeded its paddy procurement target of 5 MT for the season due to brisk procurement and remunerative minimum support price (MSP), it has also upended the previous paddy purchase record of 4.83 MT logged last year.
Last season, the state could hardly achieve 3.5 MT of paddy procurement in the corresponding period.
With 34 days remaining until the procurement process concludes by the end of February 2020, the net purchase by all the state agencies is expected to touch 5.5 MT. The UP paddy procurement season commenced on October 1 and will continue till the end of February, 2020.
According to UP food commissioner Manish Chauhan, more than 900,000 farmers registered for the procurement, of which 35,000 and 5,200 were sharecroppers and contract farmers, respectively.
The purchase by government agencies, including the Food Corporation of India (FCI), has been robust this season due to the priority accorded by the state for seamless procurement apart from the emphasis on making the fields vacant for enabling an early sowing of the successive rabi crop, especially wheat.
The Adityanath government is pushing forward the Centre’s agenda of doubling farm income by 2024 and higher procurement, remunerative prices, prompt payments, early clearing of fields etc are parts of the same strategy, apart from promoting food processing industries in the state.
Meanwhile, about 3,967 procurement centres, including 103 run by the FCI, had been set up across the 75 UP districts to facilitate direct purchase from farmers.
So far, more than Rs 9,470 crore have been paid to more than 600,000 state paddy farmers directly into their registered bank accounts, while over 800,000 farmers were registered with the state food and civil supplies department for procurement this year.
Earlier, UP agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi said that while under the previous regimes farmers waited for months to get their paddy payments, the current regime was settling their dues promptly.
In September 2019, the UP cabinet announced the paddy procurement policy for 2019-20, increasing the minimum support price (MSP) to Rs 1,835 per quintal for grade A paddy, apart from provisioning an additional Rs 20 per quintal for farmers as transport and other support. This hiked the effective state paddy procurement price to Rs 1,855 per quintal.