FCI sells 3 MT of wheat in open market against target of 6 MT

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Updated: December 25, 2015 12:46:49 AM

In the last couple of months, the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI’s) attempts to sell excess wheat stocks in the open market through bulk buyers have picked up pace.

In the last couple of months, the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI’s) attempts to sell excess wheat stocks in the open market through bulk buyers have picked up pace.

Till now, the corporation has sold close to 3 million tonne (MT) of wheat to bulk buyers like food companies and flour millers, while at the end of August, only around 3 lakh tonne of wheat was sold through the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS).

FCI is targeting to sell at least 6 million tonne (MT) of wheat under the OMSS in 2015–16.

“The open market wheat sale is expected increase during the next few months because of the festive seasons,” an official said.

The corporation had sold 4.2 MT of wheat under the OMSS in the previous fiscal.

wheat

At the start of the month, the foodgrains mostly consisting of rice and wheat in the central pool was 36.83 MT as against the buffer stocks norms of 30.77 MT. FCI had a rice and wheat stock of 9.94 MT and 26.86 MT respectively.

An FCI official said that besides the existing stocks, around 13.4 MT of rice is yet to be received from miller by the corporation.

However, the wheat stocks are far in excess of requirement as the government agencies would commence procurement of wheat for the 2016–17 marketing year from April 1.

Earlier, the government had continued with the OMSS wheat in non-procuring states after April 1, yet the response was lukewarm during the April–June period. Usually, FCI runs OMSS operations during the September–March period.

“We sell surplus stock in the central pool from time to time to enhance the supply of wheat, especially during the lean season and thereby to moderate the market prices especially in the deficit regions,” a food ministry official told FE.

The high-level committee (HLC) for FCI restructuring chaired by former food minister Shanta Kumar, in its report earlier this year, had observed that “during the last five years, on an average, buffer stocks with FCI have been more than double the buffer stocking norms, costing the nation thousands of crores of rupees loss without any worthwhile purpose being served”.

HLC had stated that the current system is extremely ad-hoc, slow and expensive. “A transparent liquidation policy is the need of hour, which should automatically kick in when FCI is faced with surplus stocks than buffer norms.”

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