The food ministry on Monday set the wheat procurement target at 30 million tonne (MT) for 2016-17 rabi marketing season, which is scheduled to begin on April 1.
After a meeting with officials from the key wheat producing states including Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the target for grain procurement by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government-owned agencies was fixed.
In 2015-16 marketing season (April-June), the government had purchased 28 million tonne of wheat from farmers despite a chunk of crop was adversely impacted due to untimely rains and hailstorms.
Punjab, which had contributed more than 10.3 million tonne wheat to the central pool last year, has been asked to procure 11 million tonne in the forthcoming season. Haryana, also a key contributor to the central grain pool which had purchased 6.7 million tonne of wheat from the farmers last year, has been set a target of 6.5 million tonne in the next season.
Besides, Madhya Pradesh, which had purchased 7.3 MT of grain last season would be purchasing 6.8 MT in the coming season. Other key contributors to the central pool for wheat would be Rajasthan (1.8 MT) and Uttar Pradesh (3 MT).
FCI along with state agencies will commence wheat procurement from April 1, 2016. Earlier, the government had increased minimum support price (MSP) for wheat by R75 to R1,525 a quintal for the 2015-16 rabi season, which was aimed at encouraging farmers to cover more areas under the crop.
The sowing of wheat usually begins in October and harvesting starts from April onwards. This year, wheat has been sown in more than 29.2 million hectare compared to last year’s 30.5. million hectare.
At the start of the month, the government had wheat stock of 20.3 MT against the buffer stock norm of 13.8 MT for January.
Meanwhile, the country’s foodgrain production is estimated to increase marginally to 253.16 MT in 2015-16 crop year (July-June) on anticipated improvement in output of wheat and pulses despite two successive years of deficit monsoon.
According to second advance estimate released on Monday, the rice production for 2015-16 is estimated at 103.6 MT as against 105.4 million tonne achieved in the previous year. The wheat production for the 2015-16 season is estimated at 93.8 MT, which is higher than 86.5 MT achieved in the previous year. Wheat, rice, coarse cereals and pulses are part of the foodgrain basket.