Calcutta, Jan. 14: The government today announced the minimum support price for rice and paddy and said it would buy the items from farmers to prevent distress sale.
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee met food and supplies minister Kalimuddin Shams, co-operation minister Naren De, agriculture minister Kamal Guha and finance minister Asim Dasgupta today and said last year’s distress sale of the crops should not be repeated.
It was decided that rice will be purchased at Rs 871 per quintal and paddy at Rs 530.
De said the government will buy two lakh tonnes of rice through the food department and a lakh tonne of paddy through the co-operation department. The Food Corporation of India will buy two lakh tonnes of rice.
"We have requested the FCI to buy one lakh tonne rice more," said De.
He said the government had already sought a Rs 150 crore loan from the Reserve Bank Of India and it was expected to be sanctioned in a day or two.
It is learnt that the chief minister asked those present at the meeting to hurry up procurement as soon as the loan is through.
"Last year we could not procure paddy from farmers and the farmers suffered and were forced to sell their crop at throw-away price. There should not be a repeat performance this year," Bhattacharjee reported said at the meeting.
Agriculture department sources said that buying of paddy and rice by the government will give a boost to the rice market benefiting farmers. There have been a total aus and aman cultivation of about 115 lakh tonnes.
"The aus and aman paddy already harvested is now selling between Rs 400 and Rs 450 per quintal. Last year, when the government failed to procure the five lakh tonnes of paddy it had promised, price of paddy plummeted to Rs 300 per quintal giving the farmers a hard time," sources added.