Bolstered by the brisk pace of paddy procurement, Uttar Pradesh is looking to breach the target of 5 million tonnes (MT) for the current 2019-20 kharif marketing season.
Against the target of 5 MT, the government agencies have already purchased paddy totalling more than 4.2 MT or 84 per cent of the seasonal target.
According to UP food commissioner Manish Chauhan, the Western UP regional has already over-achieved the target of 1.67 MT by clocking paddy procurement of 1.9 MT so far, or 14 per cent higher vis-a-vis target.
The eastern UP region has in the meantime accounted for paddy procurement of 2.32 MT against the target of a little more than 3.32 MT for the season.
With 7-8 weeks still left in the 2019-20 kharif paddy procurement calendar, the Yogi Adityanath government is confident of posting a record purchase this year after consecutive seasons of falling below the target. The UP paddy procurement season had commenced on October 1 and is slated to continue till the end of February 2020.
In comparison, the state paddy procurement was sluggish last year and stood at roughly 2.2 MT during the corresponding period.
The purchase by the government agencies, including Food Corporation of India (FCI), has been robust 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.
Meanwhile, about 3,800 procurement centres, including 100 odd operated by the FCI, were set up across the 75 UP districts to facilitate direct purchase from farmers.
So far, more than Rs 7,000 crore have been paid to the paddy farmers directly into their registered bank accounts, while 834,000 farmers were registered with the state food and civil supplies department for procurement this year.
Last month, UP agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi had told claimed that under the previous regimes, paddy farmers used to receive their payments after delays of up to three months.
In September 2019, the UP cabinet had 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 Rs 20 per quintal additional for farmers as transport and other support. This hiked the effective state paddy procurement price to Rs 1,855 per quintal.
The policy also provided for speedier procurement and promoting paddy contract farming and share cropping to augment the farm income.