Price of rice skyrockets due to rise in freight charges and low production

By MB Babu

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Representative Image / Photo: Vivek R Nair (Rice (Grihalakshmi, 2013 Nov 1))

Thrissur: Amid inflation, the price of rice varieties are skyrocketing in Kerala due to freight charges for transport and lower production in the paddy cultivating states of India. Notably, in a stretch of three months, the price of all rice varieties increased in the range of Rs 2 to Rs 8.

Over this period, the price of Jaya variety of rice coming from Andhra Pradesh witnessed highest hike. Wholesale price of the Jaya rice which was at Rs 32/kg in the month of January now has become Rs 39/kg (based on prices in Kozhikode market*). While the price of Bodhana rice variety witnessed lowest hike, that is Rs 2. Some varieties of rice have become unavailable in the market.

According to traders, apart from freight charges and low production in the paddy cultivating states, the export to crisis hit Sri Lanka is the reason behind skyrocketing prices.

Meanwhile, Kerala has been relying on other states for major share (99 per cent) of its consumption.

The paddy harvested in Kerala is almost fully procured by Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation. However, for the 99 per cent of consumption, the state is relying on supplies from other states. Kerala depends on Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Odisha and West Bengal.

The production in the state is only 1/6 of its actual requirement. Last year’s rice production was 6.05 lakh tonnes, while this year it is expected to be at 6.71 lakh tonnes. Based on this estimate, only rice for two months’ consumption was produced in the state.

The total monthly sales of rice in the state is at 3.3 lakh tonnes. Of that, 1.3 lakh tonnes is being sold through ration shops.

*The retail prices will be more than wholesale prices (variation of Rs 2 at least). The rates are influenced by freight charges (variation of Rs 50 paise). The quality of rice will also govern the price.

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