Wheat export may be allowed soon

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 30 2011, 05:56am hrs
The government on Tuesday said it is mulling allowing wheat exports as the country is braced for a record wheat production this year.

At present, there is ban on wheat exports since 2007. We are thinking about it (wheat exports). The decision may be taken by April-end or May, minister of state for agriculture Arun S Yadav told reporters on the sidelines of the north zone conference on agri-cooperatives.

The exports would be considered only after ensuring the domestic demand is fully met, he said.

As per the official estimates, the countrys wheat production is expected to be a record 81.4 million tonne this year, as against 80.80 million tonne in 2009-10 (July-June). The wheat harvesting has begun in some states and even FCI, the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrain, has started buying wheat from farmers at a minimum support price (MSP), the minister said.

According to the FCI data, the arrivals of wheat crop so far in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have been only 2.4 lakh tonne as compared to 4.93 lakh tonne in the year-ago period.

Despite low arrival, the FCI has procured over 1.57 lakh tonne of wheat largely from Madhya Pradesh and only 40 tonne from Gujarat so far. Wheat procurement is likely to begin in Punjab and Haryana from April 1, an FCI official said.

FCI has set a higher procurement target of 26.2 million tonne for 2011-12 marketing year, as against 22.51 million tonne last year. The bulk of the procurement is being done between April and June. Wheat is grown in rabi season. On cotton, the minister said the country is heading for a bumper production in 2011-12. Cotton output in the next year will be 10% more than 2010-11, Yadav said.

Punjab govt raises purchase tax to 5%

Chandigarh: The Punjab government on Tuesday raised the purchase tax on wheat to 5% against 4% earlier, days before the wheat lifting season starting April 1.

The Punjab Cabinet under the chairmanship of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday approved the increase in purchase tax on wheat and paddy from 4 to 5%, which would fetch additional income of R100 crore.