Rabi wheat procurement touches record 40 million tonne

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May 29, 2021 1:00 AM

Wheat procurement last year started a fortnight late from its normal schedule of April 1 due to the lockdown and the pace was slow because of the social-distancing norms.

Wheat procurementRecord procurement of wheat and paddy has been achieved amid farmers' protest at Delhi borders since late November last year.

The Centre has procured an all-time high of 40 million tonne (MT) of wheat, worth Rs 79,089 crore, in the ongoing season as of May 27, exceeding the previous record of 38.99 MT achieved in 2020-21.

The purchases, as is the pattern, have been the highest in Punjab (13.2 MT or 102% of the target) despite a late start from April 10, followed by Madhya Pradesh (12.5 MT, 93%) and Haryana (8.5 MT, 106%). The procurement in Uttar Pradesh, the biggest producer of wheat, stands at 3.7 MT, though higher than year-ago period, and two-third of the target.

 

Wheat procurement last year started a fortnight late from its normal schedule of April 1 due to the lockdown and the pace was slow because of the social-distancing norms.

Though the current procurement is 13% higher than the corresponding period of last year, it is still 3.3 MT lower than the target set for the year. Food ministry officials are hopeful of meeting the target as last year another 3.7 MT was procured after May 27 till the season ended.

Official procurement of wheat, the key rabi cereal, for the Central Pool usually begins in early April and typically last for a little over three months.

In view of a record wheat production of 108.75 MT in the country during 2020-21 crop year (July-June), the government has set a target to buy 43.34 MT, (revised upwards during the season from initial estimate of 42.74 MT), which is over 11% higher than actual quantity purchased last year. According to the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the official reserves had 27.3 MT of wheat as on April 1, which is nearly four times of the buffer norm set for the April-June quarter.

“Even higher quality of wheat in Madhya Pradesh has been sold by farmers at MSP (Rs 1,975/quintal) under the official purchase programme due to closure of mandis. Now that the procurement reached record, the government should consider exporting to friendly countries in Asia and Africa,” said Siraj Hussain, a former chairman and managing director of FCI.

Some more quantities can be disposed of if the free grain distribution programme under Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana is extended beyond June, Hussain said.

The government has allotted 8 MT of rice and wheat for May-June under PMGKAY. Apart from the regular off take of 22-23 MT under the National Food Security Act, about 14-15 MT of extra wheat was disposed of from the Central Pool Stock last year, under both PMGKAY and open market sale scheme.

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