MP targets to procure 7 MT of wheat this season

Officially, the 2023-24 marketing season for wheat commences from April 1.

At present, market prices of wheat are ruling at around `2,125/quintal for the season. (File)

Madhya Pradesh, the second-biggest contributor to the central pool grain stock after Punjab, will commence wheat procurement for the 2023-24 marketing season from March 25.

According to Uma Kant Umaraw, principal secretary, food and civil supplies department, Madhya Pradesh, 1.5 million farmers have registered for the procurement and an estimated 7 million tonne (MT) of wheat will be purchased by the state civil supplies corporation at minimum support price (MSP) as part of the government’s decentralised grain procurement policy.

“Harvesting of wheat in some areas has commenced, and will pick up pace in the next couple of weeks,” Umaraw told FE. He said that the crop prospects of wheat are robust and have not been impacted by higher normal temperatures prevailing in the last few weeks.

Officially, the 2023-24 marketing season for wheat commences from April 1.

Last year, because of a drop in wheat production because of heat waves witnessed during the flowering stage of the crop across key growing states and global demand, Madhya Pradesh could procure only 4.6 MT of grain in 2022-23 marketing season (April-June). In 2020-21, the state purchased a record 12.94 MT of wheat from the farmers.

The Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies’ wheat procurement in the 2022-23 marketing season fell by more than 56.6% to 18.8 MT against 43.3 MT purchased from the farmers in the previous year. The government last year had set a target of 44 MT of wheat procurement.

The MSP operations by agencies in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh will commence procurement of wheat from April 1 for the 2023-24 marketing season.

Earlier in the month, at the meeting of food ministers of key wheat growing states, the government estimated a procurement of 34.15 MT of wheat in the rabi marketing season 2023-24 (April-June) in the 10 producing states.

The wheat purchase is expected to bolster the FCI wheat stocks which are expected to plummet to around 9.6 MT by April 1 against the buffer norm of 7.6 MT.

To replenish the stock, the FCI and state agencies have to purchase at least 30 MT of wheat in the forthcoming marketing season from farmers so that sufficient quantity of grain is available for the implementation of National Food Security Act and creation of adequate buffer stock. FCI needs to have a buffer of 27.57 MT of wheat by July 1.

A food ministry official said that the target for procurement is only an estimate and actual purchase under the MSP operations will depend on production and market prices. At present, market prices of wheat are ruling at around `2,125/quintal for the season.

The FCI has sold 2.8 MT of wheat in the open market through e-auction to bulk buyers like flour millers and food companies to curb the spike in prices since the beginning of February. The last e-auction for the open market sale this season is slated for Wednesday.

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First published on: 15-03-2023 at 02:00 IST
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