GUWAHATI: Paddy procurement from farmers at Minimum Support Price (MSP) in Assam in the 2021-2022 Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) was 5,65,278 MT, a shortfall of around 44 per cent from the state government's target of procuring 10 lakh MT of paddy.
Addressing the media here on Saturday, Assam's Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ranjeet Kumar Dass said the two state agencies involved in paddy procurement performed their task satisfactorily, but the agencies under the Central government "under-performed".
Dass said that the government had set a target of procuring 10 lakh MT paddy from farmers from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022. "We have been able to buy 5,65,278 MT, which is 56.35% of the target," Dass said.
He, however, said that Assam has performed much better in comparison with previous years. He said that paddy procurement was only 2.22 lakh MT in the state in the previous KMS, adding that in view of renewed thrust by the government, paddy procurement is expected to substantially increase soon.
Dass informed that the state government has set a target of procuring 24 lakh MT of paddy from farmers at MSP by 2026 and that will enable the state not only to meet its requirement under National Food Security Act (NSA), but also ensure incentives from the Centre.
The Minister said that government has again set a target of procuring 10 lakh MT of paddy at MSP in the 2022-2023 KMS.
It is pertinent to mention that six agencies procure paddy in Assam. The two state government agencies are AFCSCL (Assam Food and Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd) and ASAMB (Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board). The four Central agencies are FCI (Food Corporation of India), NACOF (National Federation of Farmers' Procurement, Processing and Retailing Cooperatives of India Ltd), NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation) and NCCF (National Cooperative Consumers Federation of India).
Dass said that AFCSCL and ASAMB performed well in the 2021-2022 KMS, meeting 100.37% and 91.60% of their respective procurement targets. While the AFCSCL bought 2,39,335 MT against the target of 2,38,450 MT, the ASAMB bought 5,450 MT against the target of 5,950 MT.
On the other hand, FCI achieved only 43.45% of its target, that is 2,42,715 MT against 5,58,600 MT. NACOF achieved 47.50% of its target, that is 16,388 MT against its target of 34,500 MT. NAFED achieved 36.57% of its target, that is 53,464 MT against its target of 1,46,200 MT, while NCCF achieved 40.65% of its target, that is 7,926 MT against its target of 19,500 MT.
Dass informed that the MSP was fixed at Rs 1,940 per quintal in the 2021-2022 KMS, but it will be increased to Rs 2,040 per quintal in the 2022-2023 KMS. He said that farmers get only around Rs 1100-1200 per quintal in the open market.