Govt lifts 20 mt wheat this season, closing on 44-mt purchase mark

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 30 2013, 05:45am hrs
With the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state-run agencies' wheat purchase drive picking up pace in the last few weeks, the Centre has managed to procure close to 20 million tonne of foodgrain in the ongoing marketing season (2013-14).

The volume of procurement since the purchase season began in April 1 is marginally higher than the 18.9 mt lifted during same period last year. As per latest data, more than 8.8 million tonne (mt) of wheat has been purchased from farmers in Punjab, while Haryana contributed more than 5.1 mt of wheat to the central pool.

Farmers would continue to bring in their produce in huge quantity for the next two weeks, an FCI official from Punjab told FE. The other key state that has contributed significantly to the government's wheat procurement drive is Madhya Pradesh, where the state food and civil supplies corporation have lifted more than 4.6 mt till Monday.

In UP, the biggest grain producer, the procurement is yet to gather pace as only 2.1 mt of wheat had been purchased from farmers by FCI. The government has set a target of 44 mt of wheat purchase in the ongoing market season against 39 mt lifted during 2012-13. Wheat production this season is expected at 92.3 mt. In February, MP announced a bonus of R150 a quintal on wheat procurement for 2013-14 crop to woo farmers, which is over and above the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of R1,350 a quintal. This meant farmers will be paid R1,500 a quintal, a hike of 17% from the last year.

The state is aiming at procuring about 13 mt wheat this year, pushing Haryana to third spot with a target of 7.8 mt. Punjab, however, will remain the biggest contributor to central pool with 14 mt.