Wheat procurement has declined by 33 per cent to 25.08 million tonnes so far in the 2013-14 marketing year starting April, mainly due to lower arrival of wheat in the mandies with aggressive buying by private traders.

Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of food grains, and state agencies had procured 37.35 million tonnes in the year-ago period.

Although wheat marketing year runs from April to March, the entire procurement exercise generally gets over by June.

The lower procurement than targeted could, however, address the storage problems being faced by the government.

According to the FCI data, the arrival of wheat in mandies have dropped by 28.23 per cent so far in 2013-14 at 29.16 million tonnes as compared to 40.63 million tonnes in the year-ago period.

An FCI official attributed the lower arrival of wheat to the aggressive buying by private traders at a higher price than the government’s minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,350 per quintal.

The farmers are getting better rates from traders in the range of Rs 1,500-1,600 per tonne, the official said.

“The procurement process is almost complete and it is unlikely that the total figure would cross 26 million tonnes in 2013-14 marketing year,” he added.

FCI and state agencies had procured a record 38.14 million tonnes in the entire 2012-13 marketing year.

According to the third advance estimate of Agriculture Ministry, wheat production is projected to decline to 93.62 million tonnes in 2012-13 crop year as against record 94.88 million tonnes in the previous year.

At the beginning of the marketing year, the food ministry had set a procurement target of 44 million tonnes, which was later scaled down to 33 million tonnes, with now even that looking difficult to achieve.

As per the data, the maximum fall in the procurement this season has been registered in Uttar Pradesh, where so far government has procured 6,82,433 tonnes of wheat against 4.8 million tonnes in the corresponding period of previous year.

Punjab and Haryana, the major wheat growing and procuring states, have also witnessed dip in procurement.

So far, 10.88 million tonnes of wheat has been procured in Punjab and 5.87 million tonnes in Haryana as against 12.82 million tonnes and 8.66 million tonnes, respectively, during the last season.

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