As Central and State Governments Fight, Millers Cheat TS Rice Farmers
HYDERABAD: While the Center and state governments are engaged in a war of words over the supply of paddy during the rabi season without specifying whether they will stock up or not, rice millers in the state have reportedly started exploiting the situation to their advantage.
It is alleged that the millers form syndicates to procure paddy from the farmers at a price well below the MSP (minimum support price). With no clarity on the supply of paddy from the Center and the state government, farmers are forced to sell paddy to millers for a loss of up to Rs 500 per quintal.
Nearly 70 lakh tons of paddy are ready to be bought for free. Considering that there is a possibility of unseasonal rains and hailstorms during the summer season as seen many times before which has led to heavy loss of paddy in agricultural fields and markets, farmers anxious rush to the rice mills to sell their stocks. They fear huge losses from unseasonal rains and hailstorms.
Millers would take advantage of this season and set prices ranging from Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,600 per quintal against an MSP of Rs 1,940.
Farmers say that before the “paddy war” escalated between the Center and the state government, millers paid a higher price for superfine rice varieties which was higher than MSP due to the good buyer demand in the market. But, the millers have now reduced the price of even superfine varieties.
“Superfine rice varieties such as Chintla and HMT used to fetch Rs 2,100 to Rs 2,200 per quintal, but millers now offer only Rs 1,800 to Rs 1,900 per quintal. This price remains the same in all districts. This was not the case before. was the price variation in the districts and we had the opportunity to sell our stocks where the price was high,” said Chinna Ramulu, a farmer from Miryalaguda.
There are a total of 2,500 rice mills in Telangana, of which 1,500 are parboiled rice mills and 1,000 are raw rice mills. The majority of the factories are located in the undivided districts of Nalgonda, Karimnagar and Warangal.
All the millers would have come to an agreement by holding meetings among themselves and arrived at a common price that each miller would have to stick to, with no room for competition and price escalation between them.