Govt has 1.5 mn tons higher wheat stock for PDS

Written by Agencies | New Delhi, March 31: | Updated: Mar 31 2008, 19:45pm hrs
Sitting on a stock of 5.5 million tons of wheat before the marketing season, Food Corporation of India on Monday expressed confidence that it will meet the governments procurement target of 15 million tons for public distribution system.

The closing stock is 5.5 million tons as against the buffer norm of 4 million tons, FCI Chairman and Managing Director Alok Sinha told reporters here.

When asked about the procurement, Sinha said, I am absolutely sure that we will achieve the target.

He also asserted that FCI would procure more grain if it comes to them.

FCI, the nodal agency for foodgrains procurement and distribution, aims to purchase 15 million tons of wheat in Rabi marketing season 2008-09, which starts from April 1. The government was able to procure only 11 million tons last year, forcing it to import 1.8 million tons to augment buffer stock.

Sinha said FCI and other state procurement agencies have already bought over one lakh tons of wheat, mainly from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The process would start in Punjab and Haryana from April 1.

He noted that private traders are not interested in buying wheat this year because of stable price and this would help FCI in meeting the target.

NAFED has been procuring wheat in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh on behalf of FCI, he said, adding that there are other agencies such as STC which have also shown interest in procurement.

On rice, Sinha said FCI will have a stock of 22 million tons as of April 1, which is two million tons more than last years.