With wheat procurement touching an all time high of over 35 million tonne (MT) this year, the government is planning to hire extra storage to stock the grain before monsoon hits north and central India. Food Corporation of India (FCI) is the government’s nodal agency for procurement and distribution of wheat and rice. FCI along with state agencies has bought record 35.19 MT of wheat in the 2018-19 marketing year (April-March) on the back of bumper crop. These agencies together have foodgrain storage capacity of around 80 MT.
“There is more stock. We will have to make arrangement to store wheat. We are looking at alternatives. We are thinking of hiring the storage space,” a senior food ministry official told PTI. Because of record procurement, some quantity of wheat is kept in cover and plinth (CAP) storage in states like Punjab and Haryana. This needs to be shifted to a safe place before rains approach.
As per the FCI data, total wheat procurement has exceeded the target of 32 MT set for this year in view of record output. Procurement in Punjab has risen to 12.69 MT in the current marketing year from 11.70 MT in the previous year, while in Haryana it has increased to 8.7 MT from 7.43 MT. Wheat purchase in Madhya Pradesh has increased to 7.28 MT from 6.72 MT in the year-ago period. Similarly, wheat procurement rose in Uttar Pradesh to 4.80 MT from 3.26 MT earlier.
In Rajasthan, wheat purchase was lower at 1.51 MT as against 1.62 MT a year ago. While procurement process is completed in Punjab and Haryana, it is underway in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Although wheat marketing year runs from April-March, the bulk of procurement is done in first three months. FCI and state agencies undertake purchase at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). As per the third projection, wheat output is estimated at record 98.61 MT in the 2017-18 crop year(July-June).