Rice procurement may fall short of target by 2.5 mn tonne

Rice procurement may fall short of target by 2.5 mn tonne

New Delhi: After failing to buy adequate wheat, the government is likely to miss rice procurement target by about 25 lakh tonne even after increasing the bonus to boost its purchase.

The rice procurement in 2007-08 marketing season is expected to be around 250 lakh tonne, official sources said. The government has fixed a target to procure 276 lakh tonne of rice based on the feedback of the states.

The food ministry officials, however, have expressed confidence that shortfall in the procurement would not lead to imports as happened in the case of wheat.

It may be recalled that in case of wheat, the government could procure only 111 lakh tonne during Rabi 2007-08 marketing season against the targeted 150 lakh tonne, leading to an import of about 18 lakh tonne.

The Centre had fixed the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy at Rs645 per quintal (fair average quality) and Rs675 per quintal (Grade A varieties). It announced a bonus of Rs50 a quintal on top of MSP, which was later raised to Rs100 per quintal.

Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrain, and various state agencies have purchased 115.62 lakh tons of rice till 24 December compared to 119.07 lakh tonne in the corresponding period last year.

Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, major rice growing states, have a combined target to contribute 142 lakh tonne to the central pool.