Agriculture Current Affair 10 April 2020

Lockdowns and export curbs limit activity in Asia’s major rice hubs

There was little activity this week in Asia’s main rice trading hubs as a coronavirus lockdown in India hampered exports, Vietnam’s ban on shipments to ensure it has enough domestic supply continued while Thai rates remained at seven-year highs.

In India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, traders have stopped signing new export contracts as labour shortages, and logistical disruptions caused by the 21-day lockdown are already hampering the delivery of existing contracts.

PSS procurement limit enhanced to 40 quintals/farmer

The government on Thursday said the daily procurement limit for pulses and oilseeds under its Price Support Scheme (PSS) has been enhanced to 40 quintals per farmer from 25 quintals earlier, in an official note from the Ministry of Agriculture.

This was one of the requests from State Agriculture Ministers during a video conference with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday evening. The decision was taken considering the difficulty farmers face to move around due to the lockdown.

Under PSS, the designated procurement agencies such as Nafed would procure pulses and oilseeds from farmers when the prices fall much below the minimum support price announced by the government.

NGOs, charitable organisations can directly purchase foodgrains from FCI

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and charitable organisations providing cooked meals to the poor and needy during the period of nationwide lockdown have been permitted to buy foodgrains from Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns at Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) rates, without going through the e-auction, an official statement said on Wednesday night.

These organisations have been permitted to purchase one to 10 tonnes of foodgrains from the 2,000-odd FCI godowns in the country at predetermined reserve prices. While the OMSS reserve price for rice is ₹2,250 per quintal, that of wheat is ₹2,135 per quintal. Hitherto, only state governments and registered bulk users like roller flour mMills were allowed to buy stock from FCI under OMSS rates.

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