Aiming at a higher procurement level compared to last many years, the government’s wheat purchase drive for the ongoing rabi marketing season (2017-18) has commenced on a bright note with Food Corporation of India and state government agencies purchasing more than 3.1 million tonne (MT) of grain from farmers since April 1 against 2.8 MT of grain purchased during same period last year. However, while most of the wheat procurement so far has been reported from Madhya Pradesh (2 MT) and Haryana (1 MT), Punjab, which is expected to procure the largest quantity of grain amongst key producing states commenced purchase operations only a few days back.
So far agencies such as Pungrain, Punjab Civil Supplies Corporations and others have purchased around one lakh tonne of wheat so far against the current year’s target of 11.5 MT. A food ministry official said that procurement operations have been delayed in Punjab because of the recent hailstorms and arrivals are expected to pick up over the two weeks.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh is aiming at a record 8.5 MT of wheat purchase from the farmers, which is more than double the volume the state had procured last year. According to Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, managing director, MP Civil Supplies Corporation, the state government is expected to purchase wheat from more than 11 lakh farmers and has set up more than 3,000 procurement centres for the purpose. “We have created a huge infrastructure where wheat is lifted from the farmers at the centres on designated dates for reducing delays in purchase,” Kidwai told FE. The purchase operations have also commenced in other key wheat growing states like Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
For discouraging imports, the government last month had imposed an import duty of 10% on wheat in anticipation of higher arrivals in mandis in key growing states. The government had reduced customs duty on wheat to zero from 10% in December 2016 to increase availability in the market and control prices.