Despite more per acre paddy yield in Punjab this year, the state has produced around 8 lakh metric tonnes (LMTs) less paddy (non-basmati) this year, thanks to three lakh hectares under paddy being diversified to other crops including basmati, cotton, maize and sugarcane.
According to data sourced from Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) till November 28, total arrival of rice in Punjab’s grain markets was recorded at 179.51 LMTs including 162.50 LMTs paddy and 17.01 LMTs of basmati rice, while on the same date last year Punjab’s mandis got 184.34 LMTs rice which included 170.20 LMTs paddy and 14.14 LMTs basmati. Last year, total rice procurement was 193.68 LMTs, including 21.03 LMTs basmati.
So far, Punjab has received 7.70 LMTs less paddy this year till November 28 which is 2.62 per cent less compared to corresponding period last year. This year, however, nine districts including Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot, Nawanshahr, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar, Mohali and Ludhiana have recorded more paddy production comparing to last year till date.
However, the state has received 2.87 LMTs more basmati till date in this season compared to last year. But total basmati procurement might go up from last year as area under basmati is more this year. The arrival of basmati will continue in the mandis till the end of this year.
This year there was total 29.20 lakh hectares area was under basmati (6.29) and paddy (22.91 lakh hectares) rice. Last year, there was 31.03 lakh hectares under rice cultivation which included 25.92 lakh hectares under paddy and 5.11 lakh hectares under basmati.
Apart from the decrease in area, around 52,000 hectares area under paddy was damaged so effectively in floods. So the effective decrease in area under paddy in the state has been over 3.53 lakh hectares. This year the MSP of Paddy is Rs1835 per quintal and basmati’s rate is Rs 2000 per quintal for PUSA 1509 varieties and Rs 3260 for other fine varieties, including 1121 and others. Though the rate of 1509 varieties is at par with last year’s rate, but rate of 1121 variety is less as it was Rs 4300 per quintal last year.
Punjab Mandi Board officials said that the procurement of basmati will continue for some more weeks while procurement of paddy is about to end in coming few days and currently only 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes of both paddy and basmati is arriving daily across state.
While paddy is being procured by the government, basmati is always procured by the private players. Also farmers use to stock basmati crop at home sometime in the wait of good price, so the crop keeps arriving in mandis even in December and early January. Director Punjab Agriculture Department Sutantra Kumar Airy said that their main focus was on decreasing area under paddy and this year they were successful to some extent, but there was a need to achieve further diversification.
So far, Punjab has procured 17. 51 million tonnes including 1.7 million tonnes of basmati which comes to 15 per cent of total rice production target of the country from a state which has only 1.5 per cent of the total geographical area of the country.