Step up exports to ease storage: Pawar
Anticipating storage problems during the peak wheat procurement season, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said Monday there is scope for exporting more wheat from FCI godowns to clear space for the new crop. In the 2012-13 fiscal, the government permitted 9.5 million tonne of wheat from FCI godowns. Of this, 5 mt was allowed for exports by private players last month and is yet to be shipped. Wheat harvesting will start in full swing from April 14. We are aiming to procure 45 mt and there is last year's stock of 9 mt in FCI godowns. This is a huge stock... it should be exported," Pawar told PTI. We have to export more wheat from FCI godowns as stocks are expected to reach 54 mt, he said. Stressing the need to fasten wheat shipments due to the storage crunch, the minister said, "Exports are delayed. We need to export fast so that some surplus stocks is reduced and space is available during the peak harvesting period. Asked how much more wheat can be shipped, Pawar said, I cannot say now. The food ministry should know. As on March 1, FCI had total foodgrain stock of 62.8 mt, of which wheat was 27.1 million tonne. The storage capacity is 74 mt.