The government on Tuesday relaxed the quality norms for wheat procurement in Haryana, a state which has suffered severe damage to its crop due to unseasonal rains and hailstorms.
The food ministry eased norms relating to lustre loss and broken grains for wheat procurement drive in Haryana, one of the biggest contributor to the Centre’s grain pool. The ministry had earlier eased norms for wheat procurement for Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan while Uttar Pradesh is yet to approach the Centre for extending similar favour.
Due to unseasonal rains and unusually cooler temperature prevailing in the last few weeks in northern India, the wheat harvesting has been delayed by at least three weeks thus procurement by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies is yet to pick up pace.
Food ministry officials told FE that wheat procurement in the current rabi marketing season (2015-16) would be around 25 million tonne against the earlier target of 30 million tonne.
“Untimely rains and hailstorms in March have widely damaged wheat crop in Haryana also. To reduce the hardship of farmers and to avoid distress sale of wheat, the central government has decided to relax quality norms for procurement of wheat in the state with immediate effect,” a food ministry statement said.
As per the agriculture ministry data, wheat crop in more than 1.7 million hectare in Haryana has been damaged due to recent hailstorms and untimely rains.
As per the revised norms, state procuring agencies would procure ‘shrivelled and broken grains’ up to 9% from farmers as against the existing limit of 6%.
The state government-owned procuring agencies would purchase ‘lustre lost grains’ up to 10% affected kernels without value cut from the MSP.
However, in case of ‘lustre lost grain’ of more than 10%, the government agencies will purchase up to 50% of the affected kernel with value cut.