Wheat procurement at all-time high of 38 mt

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 25 2012, 08:47am hrs
Government agencies have procured a record 38 million tonne (mt) of wheat for the 2012-13 season, just a few days before the purchase drive formally draws to a close.

Till Friday, Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies had procured more than 38.1 mt of wheat against last years total tally of 28.3 mt an increase of over 34%.

The drive has been completed in most of the key wheat-growing states, except Bihar and UP. The record procurement could be attributed to a bumper wheat output in excess of 90 mt. FCI now has wheat stocks of close to 50 mt, which exceed the strategic reserve and buffer stocks norms.

The biggest jump in the contribution to the central pool this year has come from MP where the state civil supplies corporation purchased close to 8.5 mt from farmers against 5 mt last year. Punjab contributed more than 12.8 mt and Haryana 8.6 mt.

A bonus of R100 per quintal, along with a minimum support price of R1,285 per quintal and conducive weather conditions, helped MP increase its contribution to the drive significantly.

Rajasthan, which contributed 1.3 mt last year, has already purchased close to 2 mt of grain and the procurement is expected to continue for the next few days. UP has already contributed more than 5 mt of wheat against 3.4 mt in the previous year.

FCI purchases wheat from farmers for allocating it to states for distribution under the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) and maintaining buffer stocks and meeting strategic reserves norms.

Wheat is a winter crop and mainly grown in Punjab, Haryana, MP, UP and Rajasthan. The annual domestic consumption of wheat is around 76 mt.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) last week allowed export of 2 mt of wheat. We are monitoring the firming up of global prices of wheat closely and seek better price realisation for our wheat stocks, said food minister KV Thomas. The base price for wheat export was fixed at $282 per tonne.