Telangana, which accounted for 60 per cent of the country’s paddy sowings in the rabi season, has procured about 60 lakh tonnes of paddy. According to the latest figures, the State spent about ₹12,280 crore to procure paddy from 9.82 lakh farmers.

“We are expecting about 2-3 lakh tonnes more in the next few days before we wind up the procurement process for the year,” a government official said.

The State, which set a procurement target of 84 lakh tonnes for the rabi season, has pared the target and said it would purchase about 62 lakh tonnes. The farmers raised paddy in 22 lakh hectares out of the 28 lakh hectares sowed in the rabi season.

It opened 7,192 procurement centres in different parts of the State. The procurement process, however, was paused because of untimely rains. With the procurement season coming to an end, the State government closed half of the centres.

Precautionary measures

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Sub-Committee has begun consultations to discuss the issue of advancing the sowings by at least a month to reduce losses in milling and save the crop from untimely rains.

The panel will hold discussions with agricultural scientists, experts and officials to discuss farm management techniques and short-duration varieties that give better yields. Two-three bouts of heavy rains in April-May caused heavy losses to the paddy farmers at the time of harvesting the crop.

A senior agricultural scientist, wishing anonymity, asked the farmers to sow early. “There is no point in waiting. Go for sowings as early as possible at least in areas where irrigation facilities are available. For no reason, some farmers are delaying the sowings. This will have a cascading impact, pushing the harvesting phase late into the summer,” he said.

He pointed out at continuation of harvesting in the first week of June. “This is the time they should be readying the fields for the kharif sowings. But unfortunately, the rabi harvesting is still going on. This should change in the interest of farmers,” said the agri scientist.

Paddy area

The paddy area in the rabi season is growing notwithstanding the cold response by the Union government in procuring the parboiled rice. They sowed the crop in 14.50 lakh hectares (ha) last year against the season’s average area of 12.50 lakh hectares.

In the 2020-21 rabi season, it procured a record 90 lakh tonnes. This, however, triggered a row between the State and Central governments over the procurement by the Food Corporation of India. With the demand for parboiled rice coming down, the Central government made it clear to the State government that it would procure only raw rice.

As a result, the State procured only 51 lakh tonnes last year. This year too, the Centre said it would procure only raw rice. The millers, however, said that delivering raw rice in the rabi season is not viable for them as the conversion rate (paddy to rice) is way low than in the kharif season.