The prices of the Basmati varieties of paddy have recorded a hike in the past couple of days even as more than 50% of the produce has already been sold out by the farmers in the region.
The development has raised eyebrows of farmers who smell a rat in the sudden surge in prices at a time when the procurement is on its last leg.
The prices of Basmati varieties, including Taraori, Pusa 1121, Sharbati, Moochal and Pusa 1509, have jumped by Rs 500 to Rs 700 per quintal. These varieties are now selling at rates ranging between Rs 2,200 and Rs 2,300 per quintal as against Rs1,700 of the last week.
Almost a month ago when the procurement season had begun, the farmers had to dispose of their early maturing varieties like Pusa 1509 at throwaway prices.
FARMERS CRYING FOUL
“Last month, we sold our produce of four acres at around Rs1,800 per quintal, but now it has recorded an increase of about Rs 600 per quintal, causing a loss to up Rs 12,000 per acre,” Raj Kumar, said a farmer of Kurukshetra district.
The farmers are crying foul, but the development has proved beneficial for private traders who had purchased the produce when the prices were low and are now earning good profit.
Though the exact reasons behind this rise in prices are unknown, traders are citing the demand and supply theory. “Before the procurement season, rice traders set a target of procurement. If they fail to purchase the paddy as per their requirement, they start purchasing it at higher prices, leading to a jump in prices,” said Naresh Kumar, of Shri Ram Trading Company.
Officials said the total paddy cultivation in the state was around 12 lakh hectares this season and the acreage under basmati and long-grain varieties had slipped to 4 lakh hectares as against 5.6 lakh hectares of the previous year.
Sources in the rice industry said the shortage of produce might result in further increase in prices.