According to the latest reports available, it indicates that despite of poor monsoons in this year, the Punjab state has procured more than half of the targeted paddy crop till date. Further, the state is looking forward to procure 13.7 million tonnes of paddy this year, which is higher than the procurement from the last year. In this matter, the Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) informed that the state was eyeing procurement of 13.7 million tonnes of the crop this year as against 11.8 million tonnes procured in last year. As per data on procurement, it also indicates that till date, Punjab has procured around 74 lakh tonnes of paddy, in which the government agencies are procuring around 69 lakh tonnes and the remaining by private agencies. The procurement of paddy began on October 1. In addition, the government was also ensuring an immediate lifting of the crop from the mandis. Around 60 lakh metric tonnes have already been lifted till date as it was informed.
As per statement released by a senior agriculture department officer that the higher procurement of paddy was due to farmer’s preference for high-yield varieties ofrice, adding that the basmati variety gave lesser yield as compared to non-basmati varieties. In view of new diversification policy, the Punjab government had encouraged farmers to shift to grow the basmati variety. According to the Director of the Punjab state agriculture it has been indicated that in the last year the state had fallen well short of the target but this year it would be a bumper crop. Further, in this regard, it has been indicated that although Punjab had planned to reduce the area under paddy to around 14 to 15 lakh hectares against around 27 lakh hectares, including around seven lakh hectares under basmati, it still seems to be a distant dream owing to poor marketing of alternative crops like maize, basmati, sugarcane, etc.