In an effort to improve the quality of paddy/rice and save time and money on transportation, the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) has called for an Expression of Interest from rice millers in the State. It has asked them if they will be interested to carry paddy for hulling straight from the direct procurement centres (DPCs) instead of the present system of collecting it from the godowns of the TNCSC.

There are over 650 mills that hull paddy for the TNCSC, of which 507 do this permanently and 108 work part-time. “The idea is to let the mills collect the paddy that has been procured by the TNCSC from the DPCs, check moisture content and if need be dry it and hull what is needed. Paddy, when it has moisture content of 13% can be stored safely for a year. We procure paddy that has moisture content of up to 17% and this can be stored only for two months at the maximum. Beyond that the paddy starts turning bad, meaning the rice inside the paddy would start turning yellow, which is frowned upon by consumers,” explained a source in the TNCSC.  

This system of the millers picking the paddy for hulling is in practice in other States including in Kerala. After drying the paddy, if need be, they can store it or hull it as required and then hand over the rice to TNCSC godown for storage and distribution from there. “In the EOI, millers have sought time to create additional storage and some wanted to know if they can rent our warehouses. In a short time, the modality of the proposal would be worked out and sent to the State government,” said the official.  

D. Thulasingam, president, Tamil Nadu Rice Federation, who welcomed the proposal, said that millers also required relaxation for the out-turn ratio of rice when moisture content is 17% and the paddy has been stored for a longer time. “Food Corporation of India norms stipulate that out-turn ratio be 68% for rice. But we stand to lose more rice when paddy with higher moisture content is provided for milling. In Kerala, millers were provided an incentive so that all the paddy procured is hulled despite the out-turn ratio being 4.5% lesser,” he explained.  

Federation secretary A. C. Mohan said facilities at the 1800 DPCs across the State should be improved. “Many do not have moisture metres, weigh bridges or enough storage space. If moisture metres are available, the paddy that has more moisture can be sent to mills immediately. Those that are within 13% can be kept for some more time. Similarly, DPCs can also be provided with driers to minimise damage,” he said.  

With farmers in more districts producing paddy, last year, the TNCSC procured 44 lakh metric tonnes of paddy. This year, so far, it has procured 38 lakh metric tonnes.  

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