NFC misses procurement target due to low prices

- SHANKAR ACHARYA, PARSA

Feb 15, 2018-

Various branches of Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) have not been able to fulfil their paddy procurement quota as its prices are lower than those offered by private traders, and farmers are not keen to sell their harvests to the state-owned company.

The Birgunj branch of the corporation has procured only 850 tonnes of paddy compared to its target of 4,000 tonnes. Out of the quota of 4,000 tonnes, it had planned to buy 3,000 tonnes of the Sona Mansuli variety and 1,000 tonnes of the Jira Masino variety. 

The branch has set the purchase price of Sona Mansuli paddy at Rs25,000 per tonne, but farmers are being lured away by private traders who are willing to pay Rs27,000 per tonne. 

Pavitra Gautam, head of NFC’s Birgunj branch, said, “Private traders increased their paddy prices after the branch office announced its procurement prices. Most of the paddy that has been bought so far were acquired immediately after the prices were fixed. Farmers have not been selling their paddy to the corporation in recent days.”

Other branch offices of the state-owned corporation too have not been able to meet their purchase quota. The Birtamod office has procured 200 tonnes against its target of 240 tonnes. The Biratnagar branch, which has been given a quota of 240 tonnes, has not been able to buy any paddy. 

The corporation’s Lahan office, which set the purchase price at Rs23,750 per tonne, has acquired only 673 tonnes out of its targeted 8,000 tonnes. The Janakpur branch, which set the purchase price at Rs24,300 per tonne, has procured barely 120 tonnes out of its assigned quota of 1,500 tonnes. The Bhairahawa branch, which set the price at Rs22,750 per tonne, has not been able to purchase any paddy so far.

“All NFC branches are making preparations to hike prices in line with the prevalent market rates so that they can meet their procurement quotas,” said Gautam.

This year’s paddy prices were fixed by the Purchase Committee at various branches of the corporation. The four-member panel consists of the chief district officer, head of the District Agricultural Development Office, head of the NFC branch and a paddy farmers’ representative.

Only the committee is authorized to set or change the purchase price of paddy. The committee studies the cost of production, production regions and availability of paddy in the local and nearby markets before fixing prices.

Last year, the Birgunj branch had set the purchase price of Sona Mansuli paddy at Rs23,000 per tonne. The buying season lasted from January 1 to May 14. The paddy procurement timetable was stretched due to the elections. This year, the office plans to finish purchasing paddy by mid-March.

Published: 15-02-2018 09:49

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