If rain washed away the paddy farmers' hope of good price, the mandi board also felt the heat, as less arrival and procurement declined its income in the district by 33%.
The rural development fund board led by the chief minister faced the same situation. Under a law passed in 1987, the state government collects 2% rural development fund (RDF) (the state rural development board executes the law) on the sale and purchase of agricultural produce, while the market committees' (board's agencies) main source of income is 2% market fee on these transactions.
Till October 31, the collection of the two levies had hit only the `10-crore mark, much below the Rs 15-crore mark achieved by this time last year.
The last paddy season fetched the board Rs 20.73 crore as income from procurement. Till October 31, about 4.62-lakh metric tonnes (MT) of paddy was procured in district's the grain markets against the last year's corresponding figure of 6.83-lakh MT.
Earlier expecting 9.18-lakh MT production from total 1.61-lakh hectares under paddy in the district, the mandi board has now lowered its target to 7-lakh MT. Besides fighting unseasonal rain and procurement issues in the grain markets, farmers also dealt with the attack of plant hopper insects. "Plant hopper, coupled with bad weather in October, forced us to lower our target for the district by 5 to 7%." said a senior official in the mandi board.
As the basmati variety of paddy continuous to arrive in the grain markets, it may bring some relief but help little to attain last year's income mark in this season. "Farmers lost an estimated 18,000 MT of paddy in the district because of rain and storm," said chief agriculture officer Swatantra Kumar Aeri. District mandi officer Harinder Singh Randhawa was unavailable for comments.