Government procurement of wheat in the current marketing year reduced by 11 percent, 196 lakh tonnes of wheat purchased so far

New Delhi . The government has so far purchased more than 196 lakh tonnes of wheat in the current marketing year 2024-25, which is more than last year. Its annual requirement for all welfare schemes including the National Food Security Act is 186 lakh tonnes. Food Corporation of India (FCI), the government’s nodal agency for procurement and distribution of food grains, is now making efforts to meet its target of purchasing 310-320 lakh tonnes of wheat in the 2024-25 season to increase the buffer stock. This stock will be used to intervene in the open market to control retail prices, if needed.

However, the procurement of wheat, the main crop of Rabi season, has declined by 11 percent so far from 219.5 lakh tonnes in the same period last year. The main reason for this is less procurement in Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. When asked about this, FCI Chairman and Managing Director Ashok K Meena said, we are on track to achieve our estimated procurement target as the arrival of wheat in Punjab and Haryana is very good. He said that FCI will purchase about 200 lakh tonnes of wheat from these two states alone. The Center had procured 261.97 lakh tonnes of wheat in the marketing year 2023-24 (April-March). Most of the purchases are made during April-May.

According to estimates by the Union Agriculture Ministry, wheat production will be 1,120.19 lakh tonnes in the crop year 2023-24, compared to 1,105.54 lakh tonnes in the previous year. Production could also reach around 1,150 lakh (115 million) tonnes if yields are higher than expected in some states. According to sources, FCI has purchased wheat worth Rs 45,000 crore from around 16 lakh farmers from different states at a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2,275 per quintal. At present the arrival of wheat crop is good in Punjab and Haryana. FCI expects to purchase 130 lakh tonnes from Punjab and 70 lakh tonnes from Haryana.

Sources said FCI may intensify procurement operations in some states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh before May as it expects late arrival of crops in the mandis here. The idea is to hold additional stocks and introduce Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) if needed to control prices. Last year, more than 100 lakh tonnes of wheat was sent to flour mills and other wheat-based industries under the scheme. FCI has relaxed the quality norms in many states including Madhya Pradesh. A government official said, procurement in Madhya Pradesh is a matter of concern. But we hope it will accelerate. There could be many factors behind the decrease in wheat procurement in Madhya Pradesh like adoption of pulse cultivation, purchase by traders on the farm itself and keeping the grains with themselves to get good amount.

Till now only 34.66 lakh tonnes of wheat has been procured in Madhya Pradesh, which was 55.59 lakh tonnes in the same period last year. Regarding buffer stock, the Center had 75.02 lakh tonnes of wheat in the central pool as of April 1, while the buffer standard on that date was 74.6 lakh tonnes. The buffer standard for July 1 is 275.8 lakh tonnes. In the case of rice, the FCI official said that the situation is very comfortable. FCI expects to procure 540 lakh tonnes of rice in the marketing year (October-September) against the annual requirement of 400 lakh tonnes for all welfare schemes. In case of rice, we have one year’s extra stock, the official said. The buffer stock of rice is currently 532 lakh tonnes.

To provide relief to the common man, the Center has so far sold 5.6 lakh tonnes of Bharat rice. It is being sold at a discounted rate of Rs 29 per kg. Apart from this, about 9.6 lakh tonnes of wheat has also been given to India to be converted into flour. This flour is being sold at Rs 27.50 per kg.

Disclaimer: CricketInFocus has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.

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