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Restarting Rabi Crop will Help Stabilise Price

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The series of rains as a result of cyclones have affected paddy production in  Krishna district.

Farmers of the district are the worst sufferers of natural calamities and further the absence of  irrigation water as the state government did not release irrigation water for rabi crops in the past two years. This has barred farmers from taking up cultivation and severely affected paddy production.

Krishna district is regarded as the rice bowl of Andhra Pradesh. According to agriculture department, paddy is cultivated in 6.50 lakh acres in Krishna district in the kharif season, 5.24 lakh farmers are engaged in cultivation and 6.73 people are dependent on cultivation earning their livelihood as agriculture coolies. The absence of irrigation water for rabi season has resulted in decreased paddy production to 13.90 lakh metric tonnes for the past two years and the recent rains had further diminished the projected yield to 10.50 lakh metric tonnes.

Joint director of agriculture (Incharge), Krishna district, NC Balu Naik said that farmers of the district cultivates BPT and MTU 1051 rice variety. He said that 4.50 lakh tonnes rice would be produced from 10.50 lakh metric tonnes of paddy in kharif season. He further said that as the government will release water for rabi season, nearly 4 lakh tonnes of rice can be produced from projected 9.50 lakh metric tonnes. Naik opined that the rice price will be stable till next season as paddy production is going to increase in the district due to restarting of rabi cultivation.

A farmer from Gudivada, P Venkateswarlu said that torrential rains had discoloured and damaged paddy. He said that untimely rain will affect paddy in the yield stage which further decreases the prices due to bad quality. Another paddy farmer, D Mallaiah of Avanigadda alleged that rice millers will procure paddy from farmers and will create artificial shortage by preserving stocks to jack up prices. He opined that the government should directly purchase paddy and control the price in the open market. Mallaiah lamented that the paddy procurement centres have become useless as these centers were rejecting damaged and discoloured paddy.

There are nearly 280 rice mills in Krishna district. A market expert, P Govinda Rao who has been in the rice business for the past 20 years, said that there is no use with the government’s rice scheme as hoarders will purchase this subsidy rice and will sell to rice mills which further recycles subsidy rice to thin or super fine variety and will sell in the open market for higher prices. He opined that conversion of paddy into rice should be carried by the government after procurement from farmers to control the spiraling prices of rice. Govinda Rao said that as the people are preferring thin variety rice, the government should encourage farmers to cultivate the same which would stabilize rice prices in the open market.

Krishna District Rice Millers Association leader, P Veeraiah said that some hoarders and black marketers are resorting to illegal ways to earn huge profits.

Senior rice merchant, Varada Prasad said that restarting rabi cultivation will help stabilize  the price in the open market due to availability. He felt that super fine variety is available from Rs 45 to Rs 56 per kg in the open market and there are chances of only a slight increase in these prices.

AP Rytu Sangham Krishna district president, Y Kesava Rao alleged that the government had failed to restrain hoarders and further to control the rice price. He lamented that farmers are incurring losses due to paddy cultivation but rice millers and traders are earning huge profits

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