Punjab has procured around 17.8 million tonnes of paddy (Parmal rice) this year, up around 6.84 % against last year’s 16.8 MT despite the fact that the area under paddy cultivation this year was less compared to the last year. This is the highest paddy production in Punjab since 2014 and the figure could go even higher since the paddy procurement is still going on. Records show Punjab procured 11.9 MT of paddy in 2014 and 13.9 MT in 2015.
The higher procurement of paddy this year is being attributed to favourable weather during the harvesting season and also good varieties of paddy. Farmers in the state prefer paddy, which has assured market, over Basmati rice, which has been seeing a poor market for the past few years.
According to the state’s agriculture department, 29.26 lakh hectares was under rice cultivation this year, of which 24.50 lakh hectares was under paddy and the rest under Basmati rice (fine quality rice). Last year, 30.10 lakh hectares was under rice cultivation, of which 25.10 lakh hectares was under paddy and the rest under Basmati.
Dr J S Bains, director at the state’s Agriculture Department, said per hectare yield of paddy was also reported to have increased at several places this year compared to last year. This year, the procurement price of paddy was Rs 1,590 per quintal. Around 95 per cent procurement has already taken place.