Agri Business

FCI introduces new method to buy rice

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on October 19, 2021

The Corporation will accept only stocks that pass the ‘mixed indictor’ test

Beginning this kharif marketing season, all rice stocks procured by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) will have to pass through the “Mixed Indicator Method” to determine its age.

The FCI godowns will accept custom milled rice only after the reagents turn green/avocado green when tested on the samples. If it turns yellow, yellow-orange or orange, the consignments will be marked “not freshly milled’ and rejected upfront.

With instances of millers mixing cheaper PDS rice causing heavy losses, the FCI has decided to put its foot down and weed out the erring millers that are causing heavy losses to the Central agency.

Dubious methods

The millers send the rice stocks on behalf of various State governments after custom-milling the paddy lots procured from farmers.

“The FCI pays about ₹32 a kg, which includes the cost of gunny bags, transport and other components. But some millers follow dubious methods to beat the system,” a senior Telangana government official said.

Forming a cartel with PDS (public distribution system) distributors, they buy rice at as low as ₹15 kg and mix it with the freshly milled raw rice in order to make profits as they get double the amount when sold to the FCI.

About 5-10 per cent of all the rice procured is said to be the rice channelised from PDS stocks. Besides causing financial losses to the Central agency, the stocks that the FCI build up would be mixed with rice from earlier procurement seasons, while harming the interests of the PDS beneficiaries.

Seasonal millers welcomed the FCI move, saying it would improve the efficiency of the supply-chain and enhance the image of genuine millers.

“It is a good move. It helps the procurement system get better,” G Narender, a miller, said.

SOP for testing

In order to implement in the upcoming procurement season, the FCI has sent SOPs (standard operating procedures) for preparing the testing equipment and chemicals. The local FCI officials will have to take 5 gm of rice and put it in a test tube, add 10 ml of a chemical working solution and shake well for one minute.

The samples that turned green or avocado green are marked freshly milled and accepted.

Published on October 19, 2021

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