AGARTALA, June 11 - Tripura government has started procuring paddy from farmers in the State as the Food Corporation of Indian which procured paddy last year has declined to do so this year.
�We procured 10,000 metric tonne of paddy last year with support from Food Corporation of India (FCI). But FCI this year declined to buy paddy, so we have decided to procure 10,000 MT paddy at Rs 1,750 per quintal on our own,� Tripura Food and Civil Supplies Minister Manoj Kanti Deb told reporters.
The Joint Director of Food and Civil Supplies, Manik Lal Baidya said procurement started on Monday at Sabroo in South Tripura district, Sonmura in Sipahijala district, Teliamura in Khowai district and Udaipur in Gomati district and the whole state would be covered in a phased manner.
�We sold paddy last year and also this year and could make profit. Some of the villagers, who did not sell paddy to the FCI last year sold paddy to the state government this year�, said Aminul Islam, a farmer from Kulubari in Sipahijal district.
Islam said he sold eight quintal of paddy to the state government this year.
Tripura produces about 12 lakh metric tonne of paddy every year. About eight lakh metric tonne of rice is made from the paddy after the process of husking, assistant director of Agriculture department, Sushanta Banerjee said.
The state requires three lakh metric tonne of rice every year for Public Distribution System (PDS) requirement. The state government spends Rs 600 crore every year for importing paddy from other states like Punjab and Haryana as most of the paddy produced here can�t be made into rice due to lack of milling and procurement facility, an official said.
Asked why the state government has to import rice, the minister said there are only two rice mills in Tripura, which can�t process all paddy produced here and the government can�t accept unhusked rice.
He appealed to unemployed youths to take up entrepreneurship and start rice mills with support from the government. �We will support such youths if they show interest. If 7-8 new rice mills are set up here, they can process all the paddy and we can procure rice from them directly�, the minister said. � PTI