Hyderabad: Telangana is all set to post a bumper rabi harvest, thanks to the marked improvement in water availability in the irrigation sources covered by Mission Kakatiya and major irrigation projects, Minister for Irrigation and Marketing T Harish Rao said on Monday.
Replying to the discussion on the demands of the Marketing Department in the Legislative Assembly, he said the production of paddy alone in the season had been projected to touch 30 lakh tonnes, probably the highest-ever output in the new State. The overall foodgrain production in the State is expected to be over 84.66 lakh tonnes in 2016-17, against 51.45 lakh tonnes in 2015-16 and 72 lakh tonnes in 2014-15.
The minister said that the additional godown space created by the State government during the past two years had given the farmers a distinct advantage.
The Department of Marketing had been making all-out efforts to provide better storage and marketing facilities to paddy farmers who are about to reap a bumper paddy harvest.
The government could make available storage space of about 17 lakh tonnes, against four lakh tonnes available in the past, by constructing new godowns at a cost of Rs 1,024 crore. The State had a bumper red gram harvest also this year. As part of its market intervention measures to safeguard the interests of farmers, it had opened 95 centres and purchased huge quantities from the farmers offering Minimum Support Price of Rs 5,050 per quintal and moved the stocks to the godowns.
Red Gram Import
Harish Rao explained that the government was making all-out efforts to offset the impact of market fluctuations influencing the prices of agricultural produce. The Central government’s decision to import red gram from Africa and impose a ban on red gram exports besides the decision to take up red gram cultivation in large areas in view of the high prices last year had put red gram farmers in the State at some disadvantage, Rao said, adding that the State government, however, had taken every step to ensure them a fair deal.
The government had arranged about 18.5 lakh gunny bags from the civil supplies cooperation as the procurement agencies exhausted their stocks to ensure that they purchased the stocks with the farmers to the last grain.
New Marketing Act Soon
Harish Rao said that the government was working on a new marketing bill to regulate the activities of commission agents and middlemen in market yards. The Marketing Act, 1916, which was adopted in 1956, had become redundant and the need for a comprehensive act to safeguard the interests of farmers was being felt increasingly.