Increase sowing of rice, Piyush Goyal urges states

Soon after his ministry officers requested rice surplus states to diversify crops from paddy to different crops like pulses and edible oil, Food Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday urged all of the states to extend sowing of rice.

Addressing the Conference of State Food Ministers on Food and Nutrition Security in India, Goyal mentioned, “So far, the sowing of rice is 16 per cent lower than the normal level nationally.”

“I request you to talk to your Agriculture Ministers to increase the sowing of rice in comparison to the last year,” Goyal mentioned, addressing the convention, which was attended by Food Ministers of a number of states and officers of central ministries and states.

“We request all the states to increase the sowing of rice. Currently, it is less than last year. So, I request all the states to please increase the sowing of rice.”

However, Goyal clarified that there’s adequate inventory of rice with the federal government. “There is no problem of stocks but there is a lot of demand internationally. So, the more our farmers produce, they get a good price in the international market also. So, this will help to increase exports. I am also Commerce Minister. So, I have to also keep increasing the exports,” he mentioned.

“So, I would urge everybody to please increase the sowing of rice so we can increase our exports. If required we will increase our procurement also,” Goyal mentioned.

The minister additionally requested states to extend space beneath wheat. “Wheat sowing will start by October-November…. Please ensure that extra sowing of wheat is also done. Other day, the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister was telling me. UP may also consider, Punjab should also consider.”

“We should increase the sowing of all the crops and look at higher productivity also. Use good quality of seeds, do proper scientific management of whole sowing and the entire maintenance process so that we can get higher productivity both in rice and wheat. Internationally, there is very good demand and farmers will get benefits significantly,” he mentioned.

Goyal additionally suggested Punjab, Haryana and UP to not use the shriveled grain seed. “Please get the seed from other states where the grain had not become shriveled. So, please take this message to your agriculture department,” Goyal mentioned.

His recommendation to plant extra paddy left some state officers perplexed as a result of only a whereas in the past a Union Food Ministry official had requested the rice surplus states to “diversify crop from paddy to other crops (pulses, edible oil etc) for sustainable agriculture development”.

In his power-point presentation, the Food Ministry official mentioned, “Under Decentralized (DCP) mode, states are procuring paddy at MSP from the farmers of the state, to the extent of state’s own requirement in NFSA / MDM / ICDS and surplus quantity is handed over to FCI in central pool for transportation to deficit states.”

“Most of the states are now procuring paddy under DCP mode and many deficit states have become surplus. Thus, the demand from Central Pool stocks is decreasing year by year. Due to less demand from the states, the Central Pool stocks is increasing year after year and it will become difficult to evacuate godowns in surplus states, in coming years. Thus, surplus states are required to diversify crop from paddy to other crops (pulses, edible oil etc) for sustainable agriculture development,” the official mentioned.

UP’s Agriculture Production Commissioner Manoj Kumar Singh, who was talking whereas Goyal made intervention to induce the states to plant extra paddy this 12 months, wished to get readability on the coverage relating to paddy sowing.

“The sowing of paddy has just begun but in the policy communicated [to the states], a reduction in area under paddy has been recommended,” Singh mentioned.

At this level, Goyal requested, “By whom?” To which, Singh replied, “By Government of India.” Then Goyal clarified, “It is recommended only if you convert to pulses and oilseeds…”

“If you are converting any [area under] rice or wheat to pulses, oil seeds or millets that is welcome. But otherwise, please make sure that the production and productivity is high.”

As per information obtainable with the Union Food Ministry, 10 states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand – had been rice surplus (that means their rice procurement exceeded their allocation beneath the NFSA, ICDS and Mid-Day-Meal) throughout 2020-21.

Later, an Agriculture Ministry official additionally highlighted the frequent considerations of crop diversification from wheat-rice cropping patterns in Green Revolution states. “Substantial reduction in rice crop area is suggested due to natural resource concerns,” the official mentioned in her presentation.

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