Wheat procurement has declined by nearly five per cent to 22.21 million tonnes since the current marketing season commenced on April 1, despite record production, according to government data.

In comparison, wheat procurement stood at 23.32 million tonnes in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The government expects to procure 24.5-25 million tonnes of wheat in the 2010-11 marketing year (April-March) against a record 25.4 million tonnes last year, Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said earlier this month.

However, the states have set a target of procuring 26.2 million tonnes of wheat.

Wheat procurement, the bulk of which is conducted between April and June, is down in all major states, barring Madhya Pradesh.

According to Food Corporation of India (FCI) data, Punjab has contributed the maximum quantity of 10.17 million tonnes of wheat to the central pool so far this marketing year, though this is nearly five per cent less than the 10.70 million tonnes of wheat purchased during the same period last year.

FCI has procured 6.32 million tonnes from Haryana so far this year, over eight per cent lower than the 6.89 million tonnes it purchased last year.

Wheat procurement in Madhya Pradesh, on the other hand, has registered over two-fold growth so far this year to 3.44 million tonnes from 1.68 million tonnes a year ago.

FCI and other state agencies have procured 1.57 million tonnes of wheat from Uttar Pradesh so far this year against 2.74 million tonnes in the corresponding period last year.

The Centre procures foodgrains at a minimum support price (MSP) to protect farmers from market fluctuations. The MSP for wheat has been fixed at Rs. 1,100 per quintal for the 2010-11 marketing season.

India’s wheat production was pegged at a record 80.98 million tonnes in 2009-10 as per the third advance estimates floated by the government, which is marginally higher than the output of 80.68 million tonnes in the previous year.