KADAPA: Farmers are deeply concerned over the stringent regulations imposed by the state civil supplies agency regarding procurement of paddy grain from farmers. They are already a worried lot because heavy rains in the harvesting season have discoloured paddy and the produce is being rejected at the government procurement centers either for slight discoloration or in some places due to high humidity.
This is forcing farmers to sell their produce to privately and for rates sought by the millers. On the one hand, even though the government has announced a good price for paddy, farmers are unable to sell it at government procurement centers due to regulations.
Civil supply corporation officials, under the auspices of the district cooperative marketing federation arranged 13 paddy procurement centres across the district, including at Kadapa, Kamalapuram, Khajipeta, Duvvuru, Chapadu, Proddutur, Mydukur, B. Matham, Jammalamadugu, Galiveedu, Vempalli, Nandalur and Chennur. These centres, set up in the first week of November, have so far procured 3,752 tonnes of grain with a target of 15,000 tonnes. According to agriculture department officials, the paddy production was 35,000 tonnes in Rabi and 1,60,000 in Kharif. But the government has fixed a procurement target of only 15,000 tonnes. It announced a minimum support price of Rs. 1,888 per quintal for Grade-A variety and Rs. 1,868 per quintal for the common variety paddy.
According to the regulations imposed by the government, waste such as soil, stones and sand should not exceed one per cent in grade-A and common types of grain. Also grass litter, husks and husk should not exceed one per cent. Decomposed, discolored, sprouted, infested grains should not exceed a maximum of five per cent while immature, shrunken, crooked grains should not exceed three percent. If the moisture content exceeds 17 per cent, paddy should not be taken at government grain collection centres.
Armed with such stringent regulations, officials have been rejecting the paddy grains that are brought to the procurement centre. Hence the millers entered the scene and they are taking the material from the farmers.
District farmers association president Gali Chandra, speaking to Deccan Chronicle, said that millers’ representatives directly approached farmers to buy paddy.
They are offering Rs 9, 000 per putti (around 600 kgs). He alleged that they are taking five kilograms of grains extra per quintal. He alleged that the authorities were rejecting the grain of the farmers even though the government was announcing that it was buying the discoloured and wet grain at support price. He said the officers seemed to be cooperating with the millers. By buying at a low price from the farmers, the millers are earning a profit of Rs 3,000 on putti. He urged the higher authorities to supervise so that that grain purchase is done in a more transparent manner.
K. Bhanupriya, assistant manager, Civil Supplies Corporation, told Deccan Chronicle, “We can procure paddy from farmers according to the government guidelines. We did not go beyond the specifications.”
Although there are over 60 major millers in the district, only 11 were tagged to the civil supply corporation for procuring paddy and supplying rice to the government.
The miller has to supply 67 percent of rice according to the quantity of paddy supplied to them. The millers were allowed to supply 25 per cent of broken rice and the government will pay Rs. 15 processing fee per quintal to the miller. It is learnt that authorities approved only 15 per cent of broken rice from next month onwards, instead of the original 25 per cent.