Indian govt agencies to procure 30 million tonne of wheat this season
New Delhi, Feb 15:
The food ministry has set a 30 million tonne target for wheat procurement for rabi marketing season (RMS) for 2016 – 17, which is scheduled to begin on April 1.
After a meeting with officials from the key wheat producing states including Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan yesterday, the target for grain procurement by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government owned agencies was fixed.
In 2015 – 16 marketing season (April – June), FCI and state government owned agencies had purchased 28 million tonne of wheat from the farmers despite a chunk of crop was adversely impacted because of untimely rains and hailstorms during March and April last year.
Punjab, which had contributed more than 10.3 million tonne wheat to the central pool last year, has been asked to procure 11 million tonne in the forthcoming rabi marketing season. Haryana, also key contributor to the central grain pool, which had purchased 6.7 million tonne of wheat from the farmers last year, has been set a target of 6.5 million tonne in the next season.
Besides, Madhya Pradesh, which carries out its own wheat procurement on behalf of FCI, had purchased 7.3 million tonne of grain last season would be purchasing 6.8 million tonne in the coming season. Other key contributors to the central pool for wheat would be Rajasthan (1.8 million tonne) and Uttar Pradesh (3 million tonne).
FCI along with state agencies will commence wheat procurement from April 1, 2016. Earlier, the government had increased Minimum Support Price (MSP) for wheat by Rs 75 to Rs1,525 a quintal for the 2015-16 rabi season, which was aimed at encouraging farmers to cover more areas under the crop.
The sowing of wheat usually begins in October and harvesting starts from April onwards. This year, wheat has been sown in more than 29.2 million hectare of areas compared to last year’s 30.5. million hectare. The government procures wheat from farmers during April-June. At the start of the month, the government had wheat stocks of 20.3 million tonne against the buffer stocks norm of 13.8 mt for the month of January.
Meanwhile, the country’s foodgrain production is estimated to increase marginally to 253.16 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July-June) on anticipated improvement in output of wheat and pulses despite two successive years of deficit monsoons.
According to second advance estimate released on Monday, the rice production for 2015 – 16 is estimated at 103.6 million tonne which lower by 105.4 million tonne achieved in the previous year. The wheat production for the 2015 – 16 season is also estimated at 93.8 million tonne which is higher than 86.5 million tonne achieved in the previous year. Wheat, rice, coarse cereals and pulses are part of the foodgrain basket. In 2014 and 2015, the rainfall deficiency was 14% from the long period average (LPA).