Wheat procurement down 32% till Apr 17; private firms buying more grains for exports

The decline in the government procurement is largely seen in Madhya Pradesh and Haryana

Published - April 20, 2022 08:03 pm IST - New Delhi

The Centre's wheat procurement declined 32% to 69.24 lakh tonnes till April 17 of the current rabi marketing year as private companies are buying grains aggressively for exports, according to official sources.

As per the official data, about 69.24 lakh tonnes of wheat has been purchased by the government agencies till April 17 of the ongoing 2022-23 rabi marketing season (RMS) as against 102 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period.

The rabi marketing season runs from April to March but the bulk of procurement ends by June.

State-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies undertake procurement at a minimum support price to meet the requirement under the Public Distribution System (PDS) and other welfare schemes.

The Centre has set a target to procure record 444 lakh tonnes of wheat in the 2022-23 marketing year as against an all-time high 433.44 lakh tonnes in the previous marketing year.

The official sources attributed the fall in wheat procurement so far to increased buying activities by private players, especially in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.

However, they said that even if there is a small decline in the government's procurement, this will not have any impact as the government has surplus buffer stock for meeting any exigencies.

The decline in the government procurement is largely seen in Madhya Pradesh and Haryana where private traders are actively purchasing wheat at present, they noted.

As per the data, the government's wheat procurement in Haryana reached 28 lakh tonnes till April 17 of the current marketing year when compared to 44 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period. As much as 9 lakh tonnes were purchased in Madhya Pradesh as against 17 lakh tonnes in the comparable period.

In Punjab, the government agencies have procured 32 lakh tonnes of wheat as against 34 lakh tonnes in the year-earlier period.

According to the official sources, the procurement is slightly less in Punjab and this could be because of shrivelled wheat grains due to early onset of heat wave.

Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh are three major wheat-procuring States.

There is a huge demand for Indian wheat amid sharp decline in availability of the grain in the global market due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Both nations are major producers and exporters of wheat.

Earlier this month, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said traders have entered into contracts for export of 3-3.5 million tonnes of wheat during the April-July quarter of the current fiscal.

The country is estimated to have exported over 7 million tonnes in 2021-22 fiscal.

Wheat production is pegged at a record 111.32 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June), as per the second advance estimate of the agriculture ministry. PTI LUX MJH RAM

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