Centre hikes wheat procurement target by 43% for 2017-18

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New Delhi | Published: February 16, 2017 3:53:53 AM

Thanks to higher than normal rabi sowing this year, the government on Wednesday set a wheat procurement target of 33 million tonne (mt) for the 2017-18 rabi marketing season, which begins on April 1.

This year’s target is 43% higher than last year’s cumulative procurement of wheat from the farmers.(Source: Reuters)This year’s target is 43% higher than last year’s cumulative procurement of wheat from the farmers.(Source: Reuters)

Thanks to higher than normal rabi sowing this year, the government on Wednesday set a wheat procurement target of 33 million tonne (mt) for the 2017-18 rabi marketing season, which begins on April 1.

This year’s target is 43% higher than last year’s cumulative procurement of wheat from the farmers.

After the meeting with officials from key wheat producing states, including Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the target for grain procurement by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government-owned agencies was fixed.

“In consultation with the states, it was decided to procure 33 mt of wheat during 2017-18, which is considerably more in comparison with the last marketing season (2016-17) actual procurement of 22.96 mt,” an official statement said.

Punjab, which had contributed more than 10.6 mt wheat to the central pool last year, has been asked to procure 11.5 mt in the forthcoming season. Haryana, also a key contributor to the central grain pool which had purchased 6.7 mt of wheat from the farmers last year, has been set a target of 7.5 mt in the next season.

Besides, MP, which had purchased around 4 mt of grain last season would be purchasing virtually more than double the quantity of grain at 8.5 mt in the coming season. Other key contributors to central pool for wheat would be Rajasthan (1.7 mt) and Uttar Pradesh (3 mt).

The sowing of wheat usually begins in October and harvesting starts from April onwards. This year, wheat has been sown in more than 31.5 million hectare (MH) compared to last year’s 29.2 MH. This year’s sowing has been higher than normal sowing areas for the last five years. On January 1, the government agency — FCI had a wheat stock of 13.7 mt against the buffer stock norm of 12.8 mt.

Last marketing season (2016-17), the procurement by FCI and other agencies had dropped by more than 23% to 23 mt from the target of 28 mt. The volume of procurement last year was lowest in last five years. The procurement in Madhya Pradesh last year dropped to around 4 mt against 7.3 mt purchased from farmers in 2015-16 season.

The wheat procurement is carried out officially during April-June across key producing states while in Madhya Pradesh grain starts arriving in the market by middle of March. Due to lower procurement, the wheat import has seen a surge in the last couple of months. Trade sources said that the country has already imported around 5 mt of wheat in the current fiscal because of lower domestic stocks. In November last year, the government had hiked the Minimum Support Price of wheat by more than 6% to R1,625 per quintal for the 2016-17 rabi season from the previous year.

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