Agri Business

FCI godowns brim with Rabi season harvest

K.V. Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on March 21, 2011

An open FCI godown at Sonepat in Haryana (file photo)   -  PTI

With an estimated 135 lakh tonnes of rice coming in from the Rabi season, the country faces a tough challenge of storing the produce along with other foodgrains.

As on March 1, official figures put the rice stocks in the country at 572 lakh tonnes (lt) against the buffer norm of 118 lt for July 1.

Of the total rice stocks, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) held 287 lt against the buffer stock norm for the day of 142 lt. If one considers wheat stocks, the FCI stocks would touch 460 lt against the buffer stock norm of 212 lt.

“It is expected that Rabi could yield 800 lt of wheat. Stocks have become unmanageable. If you add the stock with farmers and millers, we are going to face a serious problem. Instead of idling the produce, we demand the Government to allow us to export rice,” Mr P. Chengal Reddy, Secretary-General of Consortium of Indian Farmers' Associations (CIFA), told Business Line on Sunday.

Huge demand

The farmers argue that there is a huge demand for BPT 5204 (or Sona Masuri) variety abroad. The Indian Diaspora in the US and the Gulf region are willing to pay Rs 120 a kg against sub-Rs 25 a kg in the domestic market.

In order to build pressure on the Union Government, CIFA and Federation of Farmers Associations of Andhra Pradesh (FFA) had led an all-party delegation to New Delhi last week to met Mr Sharad Pawar and Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Union Ministers of Agriculture and Finance, respectively.

“We have appealed to them to allow us to export at least 25 lt of Sona Masuri and 25 lt of boiled rice. This will not only ease pressure on our stock capacities but also give us additional revenues to farmers who are lying low because of adverse weather conditions in the kharif season,” said Mr Y. Nagendranath, President of FFA.

“The Andhra Pradesh Government is not allowing at least inter-State movement of rice. As a result, price in the local market fell down sharply. We expect that Rabi rice arrivals would be to the tune of 65 lt, taking the total availability of rice by the end of season to 120 lt,” he said.

Earlier appeals

After two appeals last year, the Government allowed exports of 1.50 lt of Sona Masuri and 25,000 tonnes each of rice varieties from Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Published on March 21, 2011

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