With unseasonal rains having delayed the harvesting of wheat crops and impacting grain quality, the government on Friday relaxed norms for grains with lustre losses above 10% to be purchased from farmers in Madhya Pradesh with a marginal value cut of only Rs 5.31/quintal against the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2125/quintal.
“This relaxation in norms would help farmers against distress sale of the grain which has been impacted by rains this month,” a food ministry official told FE.
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The food ministry in a directive to Madhya Pradesh has stated that wheat procured under relaxed norms to be stacked and accounted for separately, will have to be liquidated on priority basis.
Last year, the food ministry had allowed purchase of wheat with lustre loss containing upto 25% affected kernels in Panna and Sagar districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Sources said that similar relaxation in procurement in other states including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh once MSP operations commence in these states. Procurement in these states will be delayed as because of rains this month, harvesting have been delayed till April 15.
FE on Wednesday reported about the government’s move for relaxing the norms for procurement by allowing grain with more moisture content and lustre loss to be be purchased from the farmers.
Under the fair and average quality standards, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies purchase wheat at MSP with a maximum moisture content of 12%.
Officials said that under the relaxed norms, wheat with as high as 14% moisture content can be purchased from the farmers after receiving reports from the states by the food ministry’s team.
Meanwhile, close to 0.1 million tonne (MT) of wheat has been purchased in Madhya Pradesh in the procurement for 2023 season so far although the purchase operations officially would begin from Saturday.
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The government is aiming to purchase 34.15 MT of wheat in the April-June marketing season, 2023
The agriculture ministry last month had estimated a record wheat output of 112.2 MT for the 2022-23 crop year (July-June).However trade sources said there would be a likely reduction of 5 -10% in the production of wheat because of un-seasonal rains.