One of the major food producing states of India is Telangana. Now the state is facing a problem of excess. This adds to the existing India’s plenty of food problem. Rice and Wheat productions in the country to be at all time high.
In this Rabi season, Telangana has reaped one crore tonnes of paddy. The extended monsoon last year and newly constructed irrigation facility under the Kaleswaram water project, have led to a bumper of production of paddy. But it has become a challenge for the farmers to sell their bumper yields into the markets because of lockdown restrictions and market closure due to coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the Government of Telangana has announced that they will buy all the produce of paddy and maize at an estimated price range of Rs. 30,000 crores.
K Chandra Shekar Rao, CM of Telangana has warned the farmers against bringing their yield to the town or city markets. Farmers are also warned against large gatherings and how it will lead to mobbing procurement by greedy vendors.
The Civil Supplies Department is the nodal agency for the procurement of paddy. After taking orders from Chief Ministers announcement, it has opened about 6,500 Paddy Procurement Centers. These centers are almost double than the last year. The Girijan Cooperative Corporation and the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty also manage some of these Paddy Procurement Centers.
The government agencies, to ensure physical distancing and to avoid mobs at the centres has roped 5,000 Agriculture Extension Officers. These officers got their position after the formation of Telangana as a separate state, and these officers shall be accessing the status of the paddy and its positioning in a particular village. They will provide the farmers a ‘chit’ where time and date shall be given, and according to it, the farmer will be able to take its products to the procurement centre. Within ten days, the centers have almost 5 lakh tonnes of paddy at Rs. 1830 per quintal.
The peak in paddy production is expected in May
Maximum arrival of the paddy shall be in May. For this, the markets, government agencies shall need about 22 crore gunny bags. They have 12 crore bags in hand, and around 2 crores more such bags are with the ration shop owners. Therefore, before the produce reach the peak next month, it is necessary to build this gap of about 8 crores of gunny bags to carry out market operations smoothly.
The farmers require to transport their produce according to a schedule to these centers. These centers shall poll all the products and will transport it via trucks to the millers. Farmers will receive the money directly in their account in about 10 to 12 days. The farmers said that they had not received any additional advantage as such, but now they have an assurance that their products will reach the markets even in the hour of crisis. The government has taken a huge step by helping the farmers in difficult times. However, commercial crops like chilli, turmeric, et cetera are not in the purview of the procurement process.
This news from Telangana comes amid the expectation of record levels of wheat production in the states of Haryana and Punjab. Agricultural experts have forecasted that the cold weather in the northern part of the country this year will boost yields of rabi grains, increasing the country’s agricultural food output to a new height.
However, this is a good problem for India to have. The record production comes during a time, India is implementing a nation wide lockdown to combat the CoronaVirus spread. This is a perfect opportunity for the government to strategically direct the food to the every part of the nation. As part of the efforts to support the poor and needy, Indian government already announced Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. As part of this program, the government intends to give free Rice and 1 kg of pulses and per family. 80 crore individuals, i.e, roughly two-thirds of India’s population would be covered under this scheme.