Bhubaneswar, Oct 11 (UNI) The Orissa government today fixed a target to procure 25 lakh tonnes of rice during 2007-08.
State Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal told newsmen here that while 23 lakh tonnes of rice would be procured through government agencies, two lakh tonnes of rice would be purchased through millers under the levy system.
The Minister said last year, 19.95 lakh tonnes of rice was procured against the target of 22 lakh tonnes.
Out of the total 19.95 lakh tonnes, while 17.50 lakh tonnes of rice were collected through government agencies, the rest 2.45 lakh tonnes were collected through millers.
The government agencies, he said, had exceeded their target and procured 17.50 lakh tonnes of rice as against 16 lakh tonnes fixed last year.
Like last year, this year also, the Self-Help Groups(SHG) would be involved to procure rice, Mr Samal said, adding that SHG could procure rice up to 10 quintals with cash payment and had to pay account payee cheques for procuring rice of more than ten quintals.
He said arrangement had been made to purchase rice from gram panchayats with a view to eliminate the middlemen and to give a better price to the farmers. The procurement, he said, would start from today.
The Minister said a decision had also been taken to buy maize and ragi from the farmers. While NAFED was asked to buy maize, the Supply Corporation will be procuring the ragi. The support price of maize had been fixed at Rs 620 per quintal while the support price for ragi was fixed at Rs 600 per quintal.
The Minister said last year, the government could not procure either maize or ragi as the market price was much higher than the minimum support price.
The government today also announced the minimum support price(MSP) for paddy. The MSP of common grade paddy was fixed at Rs 695 per quintal (Rs 645 plus Rs 50 bonus), while the MSP for the A grade paddy was fixed at Rs 725 (Rs 675 plus Rs 50 bonus).
The MSP was Rs 75 higher than last year for both the common grade and the A grade paddy, he said. Last year, while the MSP for the common grade paddy was fixed at Rs 620 (Rs 580 plus Rs 40 bonus) the MSP for the A grade paddy was kept Rs 650 (Rs 610 plus Rs 40 bonus), he said.
Mr Samal said various agencies of the cooperative societies were involved in the paddy procurement and provision had been made to help the share croppers to sell paddy with the consent of the land owners.