The rice sector takes center stage with a nuanced performance in the current procurement season. The Food Corporation of India, the guardian of the government’s rice reserves, reports a 4.4% year-on-year dip in procurement, orchestrating a tale of 161.3 million tonnes (mt) as of November 15, marking a 9% decline from the previous October. This rhythmic dance hints at a shift in the recent fortnight, where purchases surged, narrowing the gap.
Deficient monsoon – driest August
The government aims to procure a substantial 521.27 mt of rice from the 2023-24 kharif crop (October-September), setting the stage for a challenging yet harmonious season. The Agriculture Ministry foresees a 4% dip in kharif rice production, attributed to last year’s deficient monsoon in crucial states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, coupled with the driest August in 2023 affecting paddy crops nationwide. While Punjab’s initial contribution to the Central Pool faced a 13% downturn in the first month, the overall purchases at 108.7 mt as of November 15 reflect a 4.4% decrease. The State, however, aims to achieve a target of 122 mt by the end of November, recently reopening purchase centers amid farmer protests.
In Haryana, the rice procurement finale unfolded on November 15, tallying 38.91 mt, slightly above the 39.77 mt of the previous year. Uttar Pradesh echoes a procurement tale in line with expectations, recording 1.57 mt, a 34% decrease from last year’s 2.39 mt. Southern cadences vary, with Tamil Nadu’s procurement descending by 37%, landing at 3.63 mt from the previous year’s 5.74 mt. Telangana enters the procurement scene with a crescendo, revealing 2.26 mt.
In its initial procurement measures, Chhattisgarh reports 2.65 mt against the previous year’s 3.56 mt, anticipating a potential slowdown until the formation of the next government. The political overture includes promises from political parties to elevate paddy’s minimum support price (MSP), echoing through the agricultural corridors. As the grains play their symphony, the procurement saga unfolds, weaving a tale of challenges, adjustments, and promises, resonating with the diverse rhythms of India’s rice landscape.