In the ongoing kharif marketing season 2023-24, the procurement of paddy in Uttar Pradesh has topped 3.5 million tonnes (MT) and counting.
The state government has set a target of 7 MT in direct paddy procurement from the farmers for the current season. More than 525,000 paddy farmers have been paid more than Rs 6,800 crore against such procurement.
The prevailing paddy Minimum Support Price (MSP) is Rs 2,183 and Rs 2,203 per quintal (100 kg) for common variety and grade-A paddy respectively.
The procurement is being done by state agencies apart from some centres operated by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) under the institutional MSP mechanism.
Meanwhile, about 360,000 tonnes of millets or ‘Shri Anna’ have also been procured and almost 65,000 farmers paid Rs 838 crore. These include maize, bajra and jowar crops.
The Yogi Adityanath government is promoting the cultivation, processing and marketing of millets to create a value chain for traditional crops, which over the decades fell out of favour vis-à-vis wheat and paddy.
In fact, UP is targetting to increase the millet acreage to 2.5 million hectares (MH) and engage women entrepreneurs and self help groups (SHG) in its promotion.
At present, UP millet crop area and production is estimated at 1.1 MH and 5 MT respectively, which roughly corresponds to 20 percent of India’s annual output. Major millets in the state include jowar, bajra, kodo, ragi, kottu and sanwa.
Millets provides a basket of low risk crops, which are resilient to climate change and drought situations. As such, the Yogi government is promoting these nutritious cereals in rain-fed areas. The state is also taking steps to introduce millets in the midday meal scheme and planning to set up special retail network.