KOKRAJHAR: The Chief Executive Member (CEM) of BTR Chief Pramod Boro recently convened a meeting in Tamulpur to assess and strategize the enhancement of paddy production and procurement in the BTR districts. The establishment of an adequate number of paddy procurement centres, rice mills and construction of godowns were the important agendas taken up for discussion.
The objective of the meeting was to enhance the incomes of farmers in BTR by system strengthening and removal of bottlenecks. The meeting sought to bring about a reversal in the dismal annual paddy procurement rates in BTR in the previous years. The annual average paddy production in BTR was approximately 11,00,000 MT with a marketable surplus of approximately 2,00,000 MT. Under the Government's scheme of Minimum Support Price, farmers could sell their marketable surplus at Rs 2040 per quintal (2022-23) compared to what farmers used to get in local markets (Rs. 1200 to 1500 per quintal). This would come as a huge relief for the paddy farmers as they were forced to sell at a loss earlier due to the absence of the paddy procurement centres in the BTR.
"The well-being and economic development of the farmers cannot be compromised any longer," said Boro. He also said that the farmers' income needed to be augmented to make the agricultural practice sustainable in BTR. He called for innovation through mechanization and modernization to attract younger generations to take up cultivation as a profession. All the officials and leaders should work together to remove administrative bottlenecks and smoothen the processes in the farming and agriculture sector to enhance "ease of doing business".
The CEM emphasized that the godown-space and the milling capacity in the BTC must be enhanced so that the entire marketable surplus can be procured under MSP. He also underscored that the local food grain requirements under PDS and various government schemes should be supplied through the procurement and custom-milling of rice scheme of the Government.
Prafulla Kumar Saikia, Special Executive Officer (PP&MD), to the AFCFCL put up a presentation on the different programmes and strategies of the Government of Assam for increasing paddy procurement and milling in Assam. The AFCFCL officials requested the CEM for setting up of godown space (at least one godown of 25000 sq. ft. per district) so that the entire rice distribution system could be managed smoothly.
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