Grain populism: As polls near, states embark on aggressive paddy procurement -Harish Damodaran

-The Indian Express

Chhattisgarh, Bengal and UP emerge frontrunners in extending MSP-plus support to farmers

Call it the impact of the ensuing national elections: Governmental procurement of rice, the country’s largest crop by planted area, looks set to surpass 40 million tonnes (mt) for the time ever in the current marketing year that runs from October to September. That would work out to more than a third of the total projected production of 115 mt for 2018-19.

According to data compiled by the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the Food Corporation of India and state government agencies had, as on February 11, already purchased 342.45 lakh tonnes (lt; 10 lt equals one mt) of rice in the ongoing 2018-19 marketing year. With the post-monsoon kharif crop still being marketed in eastern and southern India, and the winter rabi paddy arriving only after April, the overall figure is likely to cross 400 lt, which will be more than the 381-382 lt levels of the last two years.

“Our own target this time is 375 lt, which will probably be exceeded. If the additional quantities bought by states that have announced bonuses (over and above the Centre’s minimum support price or MSP) or are implementing their own direct purchase programmes, we could end up with 400 lt-plus,” said a top ministry official.

The state-wise data is what’s, in fact, quite revealing.

Please click here to read more.

The Indian Express, 14 February, 2019,

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