Lets Involve Pvt Players In Wheat Procurement: Sharad

New Delhi, September 23: | Updated: Sep 24 2003, 05:30am hrs
Union minister for food and consumer affairs Sharad Yadav has suggested participation of private trade in procurement of wheat to instill a spirit of competitiveness in the system.

This, he said, would eventually result in reduction of economic cost of wheat and a consequent reduction in the food subsidy besides ensuring better availability of wheat for the milling industry.

Addressing the 63rd annual general meeting of Roller Flour Mills Federation of India in the Capital on Tuesday, the minister said that monopoly procurement by the Central and state agencies had led to certain inherent inefficiency in the system, and pointed out the need for extending procurement operations to more states. He assured the members of the federation that the Central pool had sufficient stock of wheat to meet the requirement of domestic consumption and conversion to wheat products.

Under domestic open market sale scheme for sale of wheat to indigenous industry, a total of over 104 lakh tonne of wheat had been sold during the last two years and the bulk of which had been used by the flour mills.

However, the minister admitted that the roller flour mills in some regions might had been facing problems in getting stocks due to the increased stocking of foodgrain for the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) and other foodgrain-based welfare schemes in states.

On export of wheat products, Mr Yadav assured the exporters to examine the possibility of bringing parity in prices of wheat issued for export of wheat and for export of wheat products. At present, wheat product exporters are being issued wheat at a rate higher than that for wheat exporters. However, as compared to wheat exporters, who are required to submit the export documents for 99 per cent of the quantity lifted from FCI, the wheat product exporters are required to submit export documents only for 65 per cent of the quantity lifted from the central pool.

Further, wheat product exporters are issued wheat on net weight basis a facility which is not available to the exporters of wheat. He also assured the roller flour mills that despite export of foodgrain the Central pool had sufficient stock and availability of foodgrain were never a problem in tackling the severe drought which the country witnessed last year.

He congratulated the exporters for making a dent in the international market for wheat product exports by exporting 7.5 lakh tonne of wheat products last year to countries like Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, South Africa and the Gulf countries.