With only farmers from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh turning up with their grain stock at the mandis, the Centre’s wheat procurement drive for the current marketing season (2013-14) has fallen below 25.5 million tonne (mt) from last year’s record purchase of 38.2 mt. The figure is even lower than the revised target of 33 mt.
With just weeks left for the procurement drive to be over, daily arrivals of wheat stock from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are just around 4,000 tonne. It was more than 1.5 mt last year during the same period.
Against wheat arrivals of more than 29 mt in various mandis in key producing states since procurement formally began on April 1, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state-owned agencies have purchased close to 25 mt till Wednesday.
“Increase in private purchases and a decline in wheat production are key factors for the lower procurement of grain this year,” a food ministry official told FE.
Punjab and Haryana have contributed 10.8 mt and 5.8 mt of grain to the central pool till now. Key contributors to the central pool have been states such as Madhya Pradesh (6.3 mt), Rajasthan (1.2 mt) and Uttar Pradesh (6.6 lakh tonne).
Last year, Punjab was the biggest grain contributorsto the central pool with a record 12.8 mt.
Haryana is set to contribute only about 7 mt of wheat to the central procurement drive against 8.6 mt last year. This sharp fall of 46% from last year’s procurement, however, is not expected to impact the grain requirement for the Public Distribution System.
The FCI started the wheat procurement drive for the current year with carry forward stocks of more than 22 mt. Earlier this month, the food ministry revised its wheat procurement target for the season to 33 mt. The actual procurement is far below the revised target.
The US department of agriculture (USDA) has pegged India’s wheat production at 87 mt this year, against the agriculture ministry’s estimation of 93.6 mt.
Besides the central agency FCI, wheat is also being purchased from farmers by the state governments, cooperatives and