The central government has called a meeting to review the status of rice purchases amid a decline in paddy cultivation due to poor monsoon. The meeting will be held with representatives of rice producing states on August 30.
Area under paddy has fallen by 15% due to insufficient rainfall this year so far. Last year, the country recorded record rice production at 129 metric tons.
Ahead of the crucial meeting, it is learned that the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) will also hold a discussion on the rice price hike later in the day on Tuesday. Rice prices have jumped 20-30 percent in the past two months, and the government is expected to take steps to regulate rice exports at the meeting as well.
Earlier, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, the area under paddy stood at 274.30 lakh hectare (LH) as of August 5, compared to 314.14 LH a year ago.
Less paddy area is reported in West Bengal (12.28 LH), Jharkhand (9.34 LH), Bihar (4.85 LH), Chhattisgarh (4.39 LH), Uttar Pradesh (3.82 LH), Madhya Pradesh (3.72 LH), Odisha (3.56 LH) and Telangana (2.89 LH).
India is the world’s second largest rice producer and exporter. The country holds 40% of world trade shares.
Rice production reached a record 129.66 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June). India exported 21.2 million tons of rice in the financial year 2021-22, including 3.94 million tons of basmati rice.
The total area under cover is down to 908.61 LH so far this kharif season from 936.65 LH in the corresponding period of the previous year, according to the same data.
Declining paddy acreage has raised concerns about rice production and prices during the kharif season, which accounts for around 80% of total production.
Thanks to exceptional production and significant purchases in recent years, the Center has a stock of 47 million tonnes of rice (including the equivalent of unmilled paddy rice) as of July 1 compared to the buffer standard of 13.5 million tonnes, the PTI news agency said, adding that the Center can use rice from its own land to intervene in the market, should prices rise.