February 5: Due to the government’s delay in approval for the Food Management and Trading Company (FMTC) Limited to purchase paddy, the state-owned company has not been able to meet the target of paddy purchase from farmers. On the other hand, the farmers could not benefit from the support price fixed by the government due to the delay. The Mahendranagar office of FMTC, which aimed to purchase 14,000 quintals of paddy, has purchased only 2,950 quintals so far.
Tapendra Upadhyaya, acting head of the company's Mahendranagar office said that the company failed to purchase paddy as per the target as the number of farmers coming to sell rice has dropped significantly.
The company purchased only 2950 quintals of paddy as of last Thursday. A total of 190,000 metric tons of paddy was produced in 48,469 469 hectares of land in Kanchanpur this year.
Upadhyaya said, “Only small numbers of farmers are coming in to sell paddy. By now, 10,000 quintals of paddy should have been purchased, but many farmers have already sold their produce to the traders before we started purchasing.”
FMTC estimated that up to 3500 quintals of rice will be purchased this year. The company started purchasing from December 16 through Mahendranagar depot in Kanchanpur. Last year too, paddy could not be purchased as per the target. Although the target was to purchase 6,000 quintals of paddy last year, only 1,161 quintals were purchased.
Even the Dhangadhi office of FMTC has not been able to purchase paddy as per the target. According to the head of the company's Dhangadhi office, Angela Basnet, they have set a target of purchasing 40,000 quintals of paddy this year, but only 30,000 quintals have been purchased. She said that the target has not been achieved due to the delay in purchase of paddy.
In Kailali, paddy was purchased from Tikapur, Satti, Joshipur, Asnari and Mohanpur centers of Dhangadhi office of FMTC from January 12. According to the data of Agriculture Knowledge Center Kailali, 326,000 metric tons of paddy has been produced this year in an area of 69,448 hectares in the district.
Khagendra Sharma, head of Agriculture Knowledge Center Kailali, said that the farmers have to suffer when the government does not fix the support price on time. Due to late price determination, farmers do not get the expected benefits and the rice procurement target taken by the company also becomes challenging.
He suggested that the government should set the quota and adjust the price by allocating the budget by mid-August/mid-September. In addition, he said that FMTC should set up purchase depots in all areas where more rice is produced. The government increased the support price of coarse paddy by Rs 215 per quintal compared to last year to fix the price at Rs 2967 and fine paddy at Rs 3128 this year. However, it was already too late as most of the farmers had already sold their produce.