Brace for further rise in rice prices

By TheHindu on 16 Mar 2017 | read

The production of major food crops, except a few, is set to be the lower during the current crop year (2012-13) compared to the previous two years. The fall in output already has its impact on the prices of rice and the staple food is likely get dearer further in the coming months.

Adverse seasonal conditions, problems in power supply and untimely rains have contributed to the decrease in the production of food crops. However, production of some food and cash crops such as maize, cotton, soya bean and others has shown marked growth. Besides, the output of millets has also increased since the cultivation of cereals could not be taken up in the normal extent.

The Bureau of Economics and Statistics has estimated the production of paddy to be about 105 lakh tonnes, put together the produce in both kharif and rabi seasons, this year against 129 lakh tonnes last year. Paddy has not been cultivated in over six-lakh hectares compared to previous year due to lack of water in irrigation projects and power problems. In 2010-11 paddy had a bumper harvest of over 144 lakh tonnes.

“Shortage in paddy production is likely to have serious impact on the price of rice which is already looking upwards and ranging between Rs. 40 and 45 a kg for good quality sona masuri variety. The government plans to supply ‘sanna biyyam’ (super fine variety rice) to white ration cardholders in some districts is likely to push up the price of quality rice further”, sources in Civil Supplies Department who did not want to be quoted said.

Production of major pulses such as redgram and greengram remains constant compared last year but blackgram output has been estimated over 50,000 tonnes less than last year. Similarly, chilli and turmeric crops were also hit by adverse seasonal conditions as they are estimated to be produced less by about 50,000 tonnes and 70,000 tonnes, respectively, this year as against their last year’s production.

Sugarcane is another crop, production which is down by about 20,000 tonnes this year. In spite of below-normal cultivation in kharif, groundnut production is set to be over 10.27 lakh tonnes against 8.44 lakh tonnes in the previous year. Cotton and maize recorded a quantum jump in production by over 20 lakh bales and 9 lakh tonnes, respectively.

Good quality of Sona Masuri rice is now being sold between Rs. 40 and Rs. 45 per kg

Production of some food and cash crops such as maize, cotton, soya bean has shown growth

Chilli and turmeric crops also hit by adverse seasonal conditions

Sugarcane production is down by about 20,000 tonnes this year

B. Chandrashekhar