Assam Agriculture Minister Nilamoni Sen Deka made the announcement, adding that the government has engaged a consultancy firm to advise it on streamlining the procurement of agricultural produce from farmers in the state.
“While last year we had a record production of 5.54 million tonnes paddy, production this year is likely to go up by at least another 200,000 tonnes. Similarly, we expect to produce about 300,000 bales of jute this year, compared to 200,000 bales last year,” said the minister.
Deka said the decision to engage consultants was taken in view of surplus paddy and jute production, so as to ensure that the state’s farmers get the maximum price for their produce.
“The consultancy will suggest all the required upgradation and changes in Assam government policy for procurement of paddy and jute,” said Deka.
The minister also said that the government is planning to set up modern rice mills in the public-private-partnership mode across the state.
“The modern mills will be developed so as to meet Food Corporation of India (FCI) norms and reduce moisture content in paddy, which has been a major factor in earlier rejection by the central agency,” said the agriculture minister.
Rice with moisture content of more than 17 percent cannot be lifted by the FCI.
The central procurement agency’s norms have affected farmers of Assam and other northeastern states, where the humidity content in rice is higher than 18 percent owing to climatic conditions.
Jute production in the state is likely to go up compared to last year since per hectare yield has increased greatly this year, the minister said.
“We are going to set up 15 paddy procurement centres across the state. We also plan to set up some more cold storage and godowns to help the farmers,” Deka said.