The procurement of paddy in Telangana has turned out to be tardy. This has resulted in farmers allegedly waiting for days together for their turn to sell their produce.

The State government, which has set a target to procure 10 million tonnes (mt) of paddy, has so far procured only 3.35 mt, spending about ₹6,900 crore. Telangana farmers cultivated paddy on a record 26.30 lakh hectares (lh) against the normal 17 lh. “The volumes that they have procured so far don’t match with the target they set for themselves. The process has been very slow,” Telangana Rythu Sangham leader S Malla Reddy told businessline.

At its State-level meeting a few days ago, the farmers’ association decided to depute teams to procurement centres in different parts of the State to assess the situation. The delays were attributed to the backlogs that millers are saddled with. They are required to deliver 4.1 mt of rice, including 2.4 mt from the last rabi and 1.7 mt from the previous kharif season to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) on behalf of the State Government.

FCI deadline extended

Meanwhile, the Centre has agreed to extend the deadline for Telangana to deliver the balance rice due to the FCI till December 31, 2022. The deadline had been extended twice already as the milling process was halted for about two months early this year. “We are confident of reaching the current kharif procurement targets. We have opened about 6,800 centres to help the farmers sell their produce,” a senior official of the Civil Supplies Department said.

The State has set a target of procuring two-thirds of the anticipated paddy output of 150 mt in the kharif season. “Compared to the procurement target of 10 mt in the kharif season, the total procurement in kharif and rabi last year was 12 mt,” he said.

The paddy production and procurement have seen a steady increase after the formation of the State in 2014. From 2.43 mt in 2014-15, the procurement increased to 12 mt last year.

The State claims that it procured an aggregate of 60. 6 mt of paddy over the last eight years by spending ₹1.07 lakh crore during the period.