Sona Masuri may spark a price 'rice'

Rise in price of this variety may trigger increase in the cost of general variety

Following an increase in the price of Sona Masuri variety of rice cultivated by the farmers of Bellary District, there are all possibilities of increase in the price of general variety of rice too.

The price of a quintal of paddy harvested in December 2009 has been fixed at Rs 1,600 and the price of rice purchased already from farmers has reached Rs 3,000 per quintal. While, the price of paddy harvested in December 2010 has been fixed at Rs 1,400, the price of rice purchased from farmers thereafter has been fixed at Rs 2,500 per quintal.
The general variety of paddy has been priced at Rs 1,000 and the general variety of rice has been priced at Rs 1,800. In the last four days, the prices of rice and paddy witnessed a hike of at least Rs 300 per quintal.

Under the support price scheme, the government has announced an amount of Rs 1,030 per quintal of ‘A’ grade Sona Masuri variety of paddy, while the general paddy has been priced at Rs 1,000. But the farmers are not happy even with these prices. They want more.

Owners to benefit

However, the support price announced by the government is sure to benefit the rice mill owners, middlemen and the traders. They have already purchased the paddy from the small and marginal farmers and have stocked them. They will now be selling it for a better price which will earn them a good profit. This will also be a boon for the very large farmers who have stocked large quantity of paddy and have not yet sold them. They can also earn a good profit.

But this has proved to be a great loss to the small and marginal farmers. Almost 70 per cent of farmers who have already sold their paddy are now facing terrible loss, according to paddy cultivator V Jambanagowda from Ibrahimpur village in Sirguppa taluk. The support price hike has failed to bring any cheer to them.

A couple of reasons can be cited for the rise in the prices of paddy and rice. Due to slump in the Cauvery Sona variety of paddy (this variety resembles Sona Masuri) this summer, there is a great demand for the Sona Masuri variety. Also, there is an increase in the demand for Sona Masuri rice in the national market. Hence, an increase in the price of this variety. This will only trigger further increase in the price of general variety of rice in the next few days.

According to District Rice Mill Owners Association president N G Basavarajappa, very recently the Andhra Pradesh government began the purchase of paddy under the support price scheme.

Hence, the farmers there have not sold the paddy to the traders. This has resulted in a good price for the paddy cultivated here, he adds.

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