The southern districts in the Andhra Pradesh may soon face shortage of the Jaya brand of rice also known as Andhra rice. The price of the popular brand, which was Rs 32/kg, last month, has touched Rs 42/kg in the retail markets. Crop failure of this paddy variety has been blamed for the shortage and the next crop is due for harvest only in April. The demand of this commodity is mainly met from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana although Tamil Nadu and Karnataka also partly meet the demand. The crop has failed in the latter two states too following drought creating a shortage of this popular variety of rice. Andhra rice, which was earlier used only in Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram and parts of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts, is now gaining popularity in Ernakulam and Thrissur too.
Rice merchants here said on average three trains carrying 30,000 sacks of Andhra rice used to reach Kollam a week. “Now, only two trains have come in the past two weeks,” said a retail merchant, who sources rice from the wholesalers and since the past two or three days they were unable to get the required quantity. There is also uncertainty over the stock position of the Jaya variety rice in Andhra Pradesh. There are concerns that the rice variety may go out of stock in the wholesale market if a train carrying the commodity fails to arrive this week. Dealers said the situation was critical. Such a shortage of Andhra rice in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram was witnessed last in April 2008, the wholesalers said. The wholesalers say that in order to meet the demand of their clients, they would have to look else ware to buy rice. Although not popular among consumers, increased price could compel merchants in the southern districts to bring in rice from Uttar Pradesh that sells around Rs 32/kg and from Punjab that sells around Rs 33/kg in the retail markets.