Govt to purchase paddy worth Rs 2 billion from farmers

Published On: December 19, 2023 03:17 PM NPT By: Dilip Paudel

KATHMANDU, Dec 19: The government is going to purchase paddy worth about Rs 2 billion from the farmers. To ensure a market for the paddy produced by the farmers, the Food Management and Trading Company Limited is going to purchase about 50,000 metric tons of rice.

Sharmila Neupane Subedi, the spokesperson for the Food Management and Trading Company, said that a budget of Rs 1.74 billion has been allocated for the purchase of paddy. The company has already started the purchasing process.

Bardia, Rajapur, Dhangadhi, Mahendranagar and other depots of the company are in the process of purchasing paddy. "We have made arrangements to purchase paddy at the company's depot," said Subedi. According to the company, it has purchased about 4600 metric tons of paddy so far.

The company said 3500 metric tons of paddy will be purchased from Birtamod, 4000 metric tons from Biratnagar, 4500 metric tons from Lahan, 5500 metric tons from Janakpur, 5500 metric tons from Birgunj, 2000 metric tons from Bhairawa, 7000 metric tons from Nepalgunj, 9000 metric tons from Bardia, Rajapur, 8000 metric tons from Dhangadhi, 1500 metric tons from Mahendranagar, 200 metric tons from Jumla.

Spokesperson Subedi said that they are going to purchase paddy to ensure the market for the rice produced by the farmers. "We buy paddy at the support price determined by the government," she said.

The government has fixed the price of coarse paddy at Rs 3,198 per quintal and the price of medium paddy at Rs 3,362 per quintal.

Last year, the government purchased only 13,494 metric tons of paddy. The company turns this paddy into rice and sends it to remote districts. The company plans to sell about 18,800 metric tons of rice this year.

The company said that the purchased paddy will be sent to 25 districts that are at the risk of food insecurity. This year, it has prepared to send 175,000 quintals of food grains.

The Food Management and Trading Company Limited has announced that it will sell and distribute 180,000 quintals of food grains including rice at a concessional rate in the current fiscal year 2023/24.

The company said that since food is expensive in remote districts, it will provide rice to the people cheaper than the market price. The government has allocated a budget of Rs 435.3 million for rice transportation.

In the last fiscal year, 245,000 quintals of rice was sent, but this year, due to the reduction in the government's budget for transportation, about 65,000 quintals of rice will be sent. Last year, the government allocated a budget of around Rs 470.5 million for transportation.

Arrangements for transportation and sale of rice in remote districts are arranged by food trading companies. Subsidized rice has been sent to remote areas by air and land. Rice is transported at government expense to hilly and high hilly districts, including Karnali, where there is food insecurity.

The government has prioritized the distribution of food supplies to districts including Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur, Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga, Khotang, Manang, Gorkha, Mustang, Rukum Paschim, Rolpa, Dailekh, Jajarkot, Jumla, Humla, Mugu, Dolpa, Kalikot, Bajhang, Bajura, Achham, Baitadi, Darchula, Rukum Purba, Gulmi, and others. These districts continue to be a top priority for food distribution this year as well.

The company delivers to its depots in the district. Depots sell at prices lower than the market price of the respective district, in remote areas the company transports by air. Even though the government arranges a budget to deliver food, every year there is a shortage of food in Karnali and other districts. The cost of transporting rice in Karnali is very expensive.

It is being transported to Karnali by spending four times more than the price of rice. Officials of the institute say that transportation by helicopter is expensive due to lack of transport means.

Instead of increasing agricultural production at the local level, the government has been accused of making the people dependent by transporting rice to Karnali every year.

Stakeholders say that Karnali residents have developed a habit of eating only rice. Due to alienation from the local agricultural profession, production has not increased. Some argue that the government has made the people of Karnali dependent.

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