The Centre has asked Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat governments to soon start wheat procurement as the new crop has started arriving in the local markets. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government’s agencies start wheat procurement from April. The country is all set to harvest a record production of 96.64 million tonnes in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) as against 92.29 million tonnes in the previous year.
Enthused by estimates of bumper crop, FCI has increased the target of wheat procurement to 33 million tonnes for the 2017-18 marketing year from 23 million tonnes purchased during the current year.
“Wheat harvesting has begun. Early variety crop has started arriving in the markets of Gujarat, MP and Rajasthan. We have asked the states to prepone procurement operations to ensure farmers get the minimum support price,” a senior food ministry official told PTI.
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With early start of procurement, the official said that the government would be able to ascertain the actual yield and production of wheat as there were concern of impact on the crop due to rise in temperature before the harvesting season.
The procurement operation would also help in assessing the availability and price trend of the crop, based on which the future policy would be decided for restricting imports.
The official expressed concern over supply of imported wheat in the states like Punjab and Haryana, saying this could have an impact on the prices of new crop.
Generally, he said, the imported wheat is meant for southern states like Karnataka.
The government had in December last abolished the import duty on wheat to boost domestic supply and check retail price.