In anticipation of a bumper crop this year, the government’s wheat purchase drive, carried out by Food Corporation of India and state government agencies, for the ongoing rabi marketing season (2017-18) has been stepped up. Procurement is estimated to have crossed 20 million tonne (MT) on Tuesday. The purchase operations began on April 1.
Till Monday, the agencies had purchased close to 19.5 MT from farmers in key producing states of Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP and the quantum of grain procured so far is 11% more than the procurement during same period last year. More than 22 MT of wheat has already arrived in various mandis in the key growing states.
Aiming at a higher procurement level of 33 MT compared to last many years during entire rabi procurement season (April – June), food ministry officials have said that the agencies are likely achieve the target this year. The agencies could only purchase 23 MT of wheat in 2016-17 rabi marketing season against a target of 28 MT.
Punjab government agencies such as Pungrain, Punjab Civil Supplies Corporations and others have purchased 8.3 MT of wheat against the current year’s target of 11.5 MT. Similarly, more than 6.1 MT of wheat have been procured by Haryana government, which also contributes significant volume of grain to the central pool, against this year’s target of 7.5 MT.
Madhya Pradesh Civil Supplies Corporation has purchased 4.06 MT of wheat till Monday against the target of 8.5 MT for the season. Currently, around one million tonne of wheat is being purchased from farmers daily by paying the minimum support price of `1,625 per quintal by agencies. Other key wheat growing states such as Rajasthan and UP have commenced procurement operations recently.
Meanwhile, an agriculture ministry official said that the wheat production in the current crop year, 2017-18 (July-June), is likely to reach a record 98 MT. The second advance estimate had pegged the output at 96.64 MT.
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“The crop yields are better this year as weather condition during February-March remained favourable. There was no adverse temperature variation, which helped soil moisture to remain normal for crop growth,” the official said on the sidelines of the National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign, 2017. At the start the month, FCI had the wheat stock of 8.5 MT against buffer stocks norm of 6.4 MT. As FCI annually needs around 25 MT of wheat for Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) allocation, the corporation this season will have enough disposable stocks to be allocated under Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) meant for bulk buyers.
The government carries out procurement of rice and wheat for implementation of National Food Security Act and for maintaining buffer stocks. The excess stocks of wheat is subsequently sold to bulk buyers under OMSS after procurement gets over.