The government’s drive to sell excess wheat stocks to bulk buyers such as processors and flour millers has led to the sale of more than 2.1 million tonne (mt) of foodgrain in the last couple of months.
The wheat is being sold by Food Corporation of India (FCI) through weekly tenders to the private traders, with a base price of R1,500 per quintal, along with freight cost, to the concerned locations.
Sources told FE that the corporation has realised an average price of R1,603 per quintal for the wheat sold to private traders uptil now.
Recently, food ministry officials had a meeting with representatives of Roller Flour Millers Federation of India (RFMFI) and officials have assured the traders that the government would help in organising dedicated railway wagons for easy moment of foodgrain to the consuming locations.
“Supply situations have improved with the government selling excess foodgrain stocks through bidding,” Adi Narayan Gupta, a flour miller from Uttar Pradesh and former president of RFMFI, said.
Under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS), the government is aiming at selling a chunk of 31 million tonne of wheat stocks with FCI by the end of the current fiscal.
The new wheat procurement season for 2014-15 would commence from April 1, 2014. An FCI official said the government would wind up OMSS wheat selling in the key-growing states of Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, after the commencement of the new marketing season. The government has announced a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of R1,350 per quintal for the wheat procurement to be conducted during 2014-15.
“We want private traders to directly procure from the farmers along with FCI and other state government-owned agencies,” a food ministry official said.
Although the Cabinet had cleared the sale of excess wheat stocks in September, there was ‘lukewarm’ response because the foodgrain was to be sold only at Punjab and Haryana depots. Subsequently, due to lukewarm response to the OMSS, the government has decided to allocate the foodgrains at the state-level depots of FCI.
About 20 key consuming states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka,