With record rice production and augmented storage, Telangana shines in contrast

While the world is facing a crisis of food inflation with retail prices of rice spiraling through the roof, the State of Telangana presents the world with a contrastingly brighter picture

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HYDERABAD: While the world is facing a crisis of food inflation with retail prices of rice spiraling through the roof, forcing India to ban exports, the State of Telangana presents the world with a contrastingly brighter picture.

It is the Telangana model. The State’s approach was simple. The State pumped up paddy production by bringing in more land under cultivation of paddy, procuring whatever was produced, and processing it by taking the rice millers into confidence.

Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), at a review meeting on Friday (July 21, 2023), said that the State was fully prepared to face any food shortage by increasing production and procuring every single grain from the doorsteps of its farmers.

Paddy production in the State would be increased to four crore metric tonnes from the present three crore metric tonnes soon after the completion of the Palamuru-Rangareddy lift in south Telangana.

Chief Minister reiterated that the government decided to establish food processing industries as part of the agriculture policy and would set up more advanced Rice mills in addition to the existing mills to increase the milling.

FCI not cooperating

In the wake of problems created by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) by not procuring 1.10 crore tonnes of paddy and four lakh tonnes of rice stored in the state, Telangana was bracing to face a crisis with additional paddy stocks that would be arriving in the coming season.

He instructed the officials to establish modern rice mills and food processing industries and export them to ensure the farmers’ benefit in the future.

The Chief Minister said that the capacity of existing rice mills in the state was only one million tonnes and the Government wanted to set up more mills for processing another two crore tonnes of paddy.

Meanwhile, Civil Supplies Minister Gangula Kamalakar in Karimnagar said that his department made all arrangements for the procurement of grain without any difficulties. He said that Telangana became number one in the country in Yasangi (Kharif) grain collection.

“At a time when the world rice production has fallen down to a 20-year low, rice production in Telangana has increased by six times,” he said.

Rice millers urge FCI for adequate storage

Rice Millers of Telangana, the active stakeholders in safeguarding food security, also expressed concern over the non-cooperation by the FCI who refused to procure Custom Milled Rice (CMR) processed from paddy procured from farmers and Fortified Rice Kernel (FRK) rice fortified with vitamins and minerals by them.

Telangana rice millers were also demanding FCI to provide adequate space to store the rice, particularly with the onset of monsoon and the resultant moisture affecting the quality of the rice.

They met Gangula Kamalakar and Civil Supplies Commissioner Anil Kumar and poured their grievances. They complained that the FCI was not providing storage facilities to store CMR even though the latter’s godowns were laying vacant in Jaggaiahpet and other centres. This would result in a delay in the supply of CMR to the consumers, resulting in a demand-supply mismatch leading to a cascading effect, they rued.

Problem of plenty

With the truant attitude of the FCI, the Telangana millers were in a dilemma on what to do with the 1.13 crore tons of paddy accumulated in their mills. They required the space to further process the incoming paddy. While requesting the Government to allow them to produce 15 lakh tons of parboiled rice, they expressed dismay over the blacklisting of 294 millers by the FCI for taking up the production of FRK.

The Minister assured the millers that the Chief Minister would take up the issue with the authorities concerned. Reminding the Centre that the Constitution of India mandated it to purchase paddy from farmers, he urged the Civil Supplies Department officials to channelise the problems faced by the millers to the FCI through the Central Government authorities for a speedy redressal.

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