The government’s wheat procurement has touched 30.1 million tonnes so far in the ongoing rabi 2017-18 marketing year, crossing the last year’s total purchase of 22.9 MT. Normally, wheat marketing year runs from April to March. But the procurement this year was undertaken a fortnight early by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) as well as state agencies. Wheat is procured from farmers at the minimum support price (MSP). The government has set a procurement target of 33 million tonnes (MT) for 2017-18 on the back of record output. As per the official data, about 11.7 MT of wheat has been procured from Punjab, 7.4 MT from Haryana, 6.72 MT from Madhya Pradesh, 3 MT from Uttar Pradesh and 1.17 MT from Rajasthan so far this marketing year. This is more than sufficient to meet the National Food Security Act under which highly subsidised grains are distributed to the poor via public distribution system (PDS).
The annual PDS demand for wheat is 24-25 MT. The government buys wheat and rice at the MSP to create buffer stock to meet PDS demand as well as other welfare programmes. The excess is sold to bulk buyers in the market. Wheat production target is kept at a record 97.44 million tonnes for 2016-17 crop year, much higher than the actual output of 93.50 million tonnes last year.