FCI sells 5.8 mt of wheat under OMSS

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 5 2014, 10:58am hrs
Against a target of 8.5 million tonne (mt) of wheat to be sold to bulk buyers such as flour millers under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS), the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has managed to clear about 5.8 mt of grain by the end of last fiscal.

According to official data, FCI had sold 6.4 mt of grain under OMSS in the previous fiscal.

Officials said wheat was being sold by the FCI through a weekly tender to the private traders with a base price of R1,500 a quintal along with freight cost to the locations concerned.

The corporation has realised an average price of more than R1,603 a quintal for the wheat sold to private traders last fiscal.

Out of the total quantity sold through OMSS, close to 2 mt of grain had been sold to traders in Haryana (1.1 mt) and Punjab (8 lakh tonne).

However, against an allocation of 1 mt of wheat to small private traders, FCI has sold only 2.7 lakh tonne last fiscal. OMSS had been winded up at the end of March as the wheat procurement for the new marketing season (2014-15) started on April 1.

Although the Cabinet cleared sale of excess stocks in September, 2013, there was lukewarm response initially to the OMSS because grain was to be sold only at depots in Punjab and Haryana. Subsequently, the government decided to allocate grains at state level depots of FCI.

About 20 key consuming states such as UP, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Orissa, Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra were allocated 2 lakh tonne of wheat for sale to bulk buyers. Himachal Pradesh and northeastern states were allotted 50,000 tonne each under OMSS.

Traders said the decision to release grains under OMSS would help contain prices.

As per the Agricultural Marketing Information Network (Agmark) data, wholesale wheat prices were quoted on Friday at Rs 1,630 a er quintal in Ghaziabad and R1,590 a quintal in the Ajmer market while grain price was R1,550 a quintal at Khanna market (Punjab).

The aim of OMSS had been to sell excess wheat stocks in the open market as the corporation has more grain stocks than required.

At present, the corporation has wheat stocks of more than 20 mt while the procurement for the current year (2014-15) has just commenced. FCI has a wheat stock of more than 18 mt at the start of the month while it is aiming at purchasing 31 mt of grain from the farmers in next two months.