The Uttar Pradesh government is planning to extend its rice export policy,which expired on September 30,by another two years. This is likely to bring reprieve to the paddy growers,particularly those who used the hybrid varieties.
At the beginning of the sowing season,the state government had actively promoted hybrid seeds,but a large number of farmers are now finding it difficult to sell the yield due to reluctance on the part of the government and private players. The low rice yield in hybrid variety is seen as the biggest reason for the same. A senior official of the state Agricultural Marketing Department in Lucknow said that in principle approval for extending the rice export policy for two more years has been given at the highest level.
A cabinet note for extending the policy for two more years will soon be put up, said the official,speaking on the condition of anonymity. The policy,among other things,offers rebates in mandi and sales tax.
As and when the policy is extended,private sector will increase its purchase,which is on hold at the moment, said the official. Even though the farmers in the western region of the state are in a much better bargaining position on account of their links with exporters and a brand image for their products,those from the eastern region of the state are also likely to benefit with increase in overall demand,added the official.
The exercise would begin soon as senior officials from various departments concerned return from Jhansi where Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia is reviewing the implementation of Bundelkhand package.
The rice export policy of the state government has been in existence since 1999,being initially extended twice for one-year terms and then for two five-year terms from 2001.
Already,the Principal Secretary (Food) has instructed to all the district magistrates to ensure the rate for paddy purchase by the government is not too low from the market rate.
In Allahabad alone,hybrid paddy seeds were sown over thousands of hectares and the estimated produce has been more than 40,000 tonnes. However,the governments marketing centres are not purchasing it with enthusiasm. District Agriculture Officer Atindra Singh said efforts were being made to increase the purchase of hybrid paddy.