Guwahati: Assam government on Monday said it will set up procurement centres for paddy at panchayat and cooperative levels from next year to increase the purchase from farmers.
Participating in a debate in state Legislative Assembly today, Assam Agriculture and Food Processing Minister Nilamoni Sen Deka said rice production in the state is expected to touch a record 55 lakh metric tonnes this year as against 50 lakh MT last year.
"Since 2010-11, we have become a surplus state as far as production is concerned. Now, we want to increase procurement from the farmers and from next fiscal year, we plan to set up procurement centres in panchayats and cooperatives," Deka said.
He added that FCI procured only 25,000 MT of paddy from farmers in Assam last year.
"However, this year, we are looking to increase it to one lakh MT. Once the local level procurement centres are operational from next year, we will procure till August, instead of April as currently is the practice," the Minister said.
Deka added: "This year, we expect the farm sector in Assam to grow by 7.5 per cent. For the first time, the Union Budget presented last month has mentioned Assam`s success in rice production.”
"Within 3-4 years, we are targeting to increase rice production to 100 lakh MT annually."
He said besides rice, the state government is also focusing on crops like maize, mustard and vegetables.