About 70% of rice procured so far is from Punjab, which is more than entire procurement from the State last year.
Almost two months after the kharif harvest procurement began, the level of paddy procurement is 18% higher than last year, according to Agriculture Ministry data. About 70% of rice procured so far is from Punjab, which is more than the entire procurement from the State last year.
At the same time, more than 40% of rabi or winter season sowing is complete, with a 10% increase in acreage mostly coming from increased sowing of pulses this year.
Paddy procurement began earlier than usual this year, starting on September 26 in Punjab and Haryana due to the early arrival of crops. So far, 295 lakh tonnes of paddy have been procured, in comparison to 250 lakh tonnes last year, recording an increase of 17.8%. Punjab alone has contributed 201 lakh tonnes, or 68.2% of the total.
According to Food Corporation of India data, 133 lakh tonnes of rice have already been procured from Punjab so far this year, a 23% increase from the full amount of rice procured during the last kharif marketing season. (About two-thirds of the quantity of paddy is converted into rice.)
25.8 lakh benefited
In total, 25.8 lakh farmers have benefited from the ongoing paddy procurement, according to a Ministry statement.
There has also been a 17% increase in procurement of pulses and oilseeds in comparison to last year, with about 67,000 tonnes of moong, urad, groundnut and soybean having been procured so far, benefiting almost 40,000 farmers in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan. Approval was given for 45 lakh tonnes of pulses and oilseeds to be procured this year under the price support scheme.
Rabi sowing is also showing a preference for pulses, especially those which saw an increase in minimum support prices this year. Good monsoons and full reservoirs have also encouraged early sowing in some States. There has been a 30% increase in the acreage of gram and lentils so far, in comparison to the same time last year. Lathyrus or kesari dal has also seen a whopping 86% increase in sowing acreage so far. Higher sowing area of pulses has especially been reported from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Coarse cereals have also seen a 7% increase in sowing acreage so far, driven by increased sowing of jowar, bajra and ragi. An increase in mustard and safflower sowing has also driven a 6.6% hike in oilseeds acreage, despite a drop in groundnut and sunflower.
On the other hand, wheat, the major rabi season crop, has only seen a marginal half a per cent increase so far. About a third of the usual acreage covered by wheat has been sown so far.