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India's Rice Procurement Soars: Crossing 50 Mn Tonnes Milestone

During the current marketing season, which began on October 1, the Indian government procured 49.98 million tonnes (mt) of rice as of April 30.

Shivam Dwivedi
India's Rice Procurement Soars: Crossing 50 Mn Tonne Milestone
India's Rice Procurement Soars: Crossing 50 Mn Tonne Milestone

However, it is slightly lower than the year-ago figure of 50.03 mt. This may allow the government to supply more rations at ration shops if necessary, even if wheat procurement falls short of its aim.

Rice procurement during the kharif season from October to April was 49.41 million tonnes, up from 49.73 million tonnes the previous year. The rabi crop, harvested in April, has begun to arrive in several states, with the government purchasing 0.57 million tonnes since April 1 compared to 0.3 million tonnes the previous year. Tamil Nadu purchases the most rabi crop (0.23 mt), followed by Andhra Pradesh (0.18 lt).

The government has set a target of 62.17 million tonnes of rice procurement during the 2022-23 season (October-September), with 51.56 million tonnes coming from the kharif season and 10.62 million tonnes coming from the rabi season. Rice procurement was 57.59 million tonnes in 2021-22.

However, while wheat procurement increased 38.3% to 22.29 mt in the first month of the procurement period (April-June), only 4.4% of the targetted 5.45 mt was purchased from all states, excluding the top three, Punjab, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh.

If the total objective is to be met, the government must ensure that the deficit in other states is addressed, as just 4.4% of the targetted 5.45 mt has been purchased thus far.

While rice procurement for the kharif season ended in all states in March, it continues in West Bengal until the end of the month and in Assam until June 30. Kharif harvesting began early in West Bengal in 2022, resulting in an increase in procurement. However, it is still stuck at 2.07 mt as of April 30, the same as it was on March 31, and the State may not see any significant improvement.

According to official data for the 2022-23 season, rice procurement was 11.43 million tonnes in October, 10.44 million tonnes in November, 13.72 million tonnes in December, 8.14 million tonnes in January, 4.1 million tonnes in February, 1.39 million tonnes in March, and 0.76 million tonnes in April.

As of April 1, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) had 24.86 million tonnes of rice and 27.64 million tonnes of paddy (over 18.5 million tonnes of rice) in its Central Pool stock. According to APEDA's crop survey, the country produced 9 million tonnes of Basmati rice in 2022-23, and the Agriculture Ministry estimated overall rice output (including Basmati and non-Basmati) at 130.88 million tonnes.

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