J&K’s dependence on import of foodgrains increased by 76 percent in last 10 years

Jammu and Kashmir has failed to improve agriculture productivity and hence, dependence on import of food grains has registered a regular increasing trend, rising from 503 thousand metric Tonnes to 887.6 thousand metric Tonnes, showing an increase of 384.6 thousand metric Tonnes i.e about 76 percent during last 10 years.

Sources said that local production of foodgrains does not keep pace with the requirement, as the agriculture sector faces challenges on various fronts. On the supply side, yield of principal crops i.e rice, maize, and wheat, are not significantly improving over the years and more or less stagnant trend in the yield rates of these crops, has been experienced, said the sources.

They added that scope for increasing net area sown, is very limited and the land holding is shrinking due to continuous breakdown of joint family system, growing urbanization and population explosion. They further said that deficit is met by imports for meeting commitments under Targeted Public Distribution System, other welfare schemes and emergency relief measures.

Import of food grains helps in augmenting supplies, maintaining food security and buffer stock and ensuring price stability, said the sources while adding that import of food grains has registered a regular increasing trend in the last many years rising from 503 thousand metric Tonnes to 887.6 thousand metric Tonnes, showing an increase of 384.6 thousand metric Tonnes i.e about 76percent during the period under reference.

On the other hand, during 2010-11, the importation of food grains to the state from FCI, GOI, has declined to 756.80 thousand MTs which is 14.74 percent less than the previous year. Thereafter, it again rose to 908.22 thousand MTs i.e. 20.01percent more than 2010-11 import of foodgrains. During the year 2013-14 the import of foodgrains, was recorded at 756.80 thousand metric Tonnes which is less by 8.54 percent than the previous year 2012-13.

During the current financial year the import of foodgrains has been recorded at 540.58 thousand metric tonnes. Off take of foodgrains is primarily under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and other welfare schemes. Off take of foodgrains under TPDS, has been increasing over the years. For the year 2007-08, it was of the order of 705 thousand metric tonnes of which 471 thousand metric tonnes were Rice.

Total off-take of rice and wheat taken together showed an annual increase of above 5 percent during the year 2003-04 to 2005-06. During the year 2008-09, off-take figures were 656.6 thousand metric tonnes registering a decrease of 6.87 percent over 2007-08 level. Off take figures of foodgrains were 845.5 thousand metric tonnes showing an increase of 28.77 percent over previous year figure. Off-take of foodgrains further increased to 856.27 thousand metric tonnes from 753.24 thousand metric tonnes of the previous year, thereby registering a increase of 13.68 percent.

Off-take of foodgrains for the year 2013-14 was 748.83 thousand metric tonnes thereby registering a decline of 4.16 percent as compared to the previous year 2012- 13.During the current financial year off-take has been registered at 536.03 thousand metric tonnes ending Nov. 2014.

The department imported 84.50 thousand metric tonnes of sugar as compared to previous year’s import of 80.29 thousand metric tonnes, registering an increase of 5.24 percent and thereafter, it declined to 79.53 thousand MTs which is 5.88percent less than the previous year importation of sugar. On the other hand, the off-take of sugar for the year 2011-12 has recorded 79.28 thousand metric tonnes which is 1.55percent more than the previous year figure of 78.07 thousand metric tonnes. During the year 2013-14, import of sugar was recorded at 82.71 thousand metric tonnes thereby registering a decline of 2.01percent against the previous year 2012-13.

Whereas off take of sugar has been recorded at 74.08 thousand metric tonnes which is less by 11.03 percent as compared to 2012-13.During the current financial year, import of sugar was recorded at 58.92 thousand metric tonnes against which the off-take stood at 53.11 thousand metric tonnes. The Government makes all out efforts to implement the TPDS to the best advantage of the beneficiaries with utmost transparency and efficiency. In order to ensure that the benefit accrues to the targeted population, distribution of food grains is done through ration tickets.

In fact, food rationing is an important tool for regulating supplies and serves to achieve multiple objectives. Food rationing has helped to control the price of the essential commodities in the open market and also, to make essential commodities available to the consumers at affordable prices. Food rationing is done in line with the guidelines laid by the government of India. The distribution of foodgrains is governed by the scale of allocation and its off take.

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