Yogi Adityanath led UP Cabinet decision to raise wheat procurement to 8 mn tonnes is 10 times that of last year

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New Delhi | Published: April 6, 2017 3:52:48 AM

This will help the Food Corporation of India to reduce transportation costs for its UP operations and result in savings on food subsidy. Also, UP farmers will get the benefit of minimum support price (MSP).

UP, which requires around 6 million tonne of wheat annually for supply to beneficiaries under NFSA, has been purchasing less than one million tonne of grain from the farmers annually in the last few years. (Reuters)

Uttar Pradesh cabinet’s decision to raise wheat procurement to eight million tonne (mt) from the farmers in the current rabi marketing season (2017-18), almost ten times last year, will lead the country’s most populous state to meet the requirement for implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) from its own purchases for the first time.

This will help the Food Corporation of India to reduce transportation costs for its UP operations and result in savings on food subsidy. Also, UP farmers will get the benefit of minimum support price (MSP).

UP, which requires around 6 million tonne of wheat annually for supply to beneficiaries under NFSA, has been purchasing less than one million tonne of grain from the farmers annually in the last few years. Thus, the state had to depend on the supplies from surplus region of Punjab and Haryana by FCI to meet requirement for the Public Distribution System.

“The state had grossly inadequate mandi as well as storage infrastructure for increasing grain procurement,” a food ministry official told FE.

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According to official data, Uttar Pradesh, with around 25 million tonne of annual wheat production, procures less than a million tonne of the grain from the farmers in last few years, thus depriving farmers from benefits of MSP announced annually by the Centre. Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh purchase major chunk of wheat for the central pool from the farmers.

In his first Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath decided to fix a target of 8 million tonne of wheat purchase from the farmers against the earlier target of 3 mt set by state agency and FCI fixed at a meeting called by food ministry a month ago.

Food ministry official said that the Centre has been giving thrust on localised procurement for meeting the requirement for NFSA to all the states, especially Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who have not been able to set up efficient procurement mechanism.

“We will save a substantial expenses towards transportation of grain if UP start doing localised procurement,” the official said.

According to food ministry data, in the last three years, the wheat procurement in UP has not crossed a million tonne while for purchase of 8 mt of grain, the state government has to make arrangements for storage facilities which currently it lacks.

Sources said that officials at the district level have been asked to make all preparations for procurement besides extending basic amenities like water and shade for farmers arriving there.

A state government official said that state agencies will procure 7 mt while FCI would purchase one mt of wheat over the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, since 2008, had revamped its wheat procurement system and in the current rabi marketing season (2017-18) has set up more than 3,000 purchase centres this season.

The state is aiming at a purchase of more than 9 million tonne of wheat from the 11 lakh farmers registered with MP Civil Supplies Corporation.

Although in 2016-17, MP could purchase only about 4 mt of wheat, in the previous two years, the central Indian state had purchased more than 7 mt of wheat annually and contributing about 4 mt of grain to central pool.

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