The Centre has asked wheat-producing States and union territories (UTs), whose procurement closing dates were expiring early, to keep procuring wheat till May 31, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said in a statement on May 15.
The extension of the wheat procurement season was “expected to benefit farmers”, the Ministry said. The Ministry had also directed the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to continue wheat procurement under the Central poll, it said.
The Ministry said the decision was taken after the States and UTs had requested to extend the procurement season.
The Ministry said procurement of wheat under the Central pool had progressed smoothly during the Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) 2022-2023 in Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Bihar and Rajasthan. The rabi marketing season runs from April to March.
“The wheat procurement under Central pool has been less during ensuing RMS 2022-23 corresponding to previous RMS 2021-22, mainly due to the higher market prices than MSP, wherein farmers have been selling wheat to private traders. The Central government had on May 13 decided to restrict export of wheat to rein in high prices of wheat, except in case of irrevocable letter of credit and requests from neighbouring/food-deficit countries,” the statement read.
Till May 14, 180 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) had been procured, compared to 367 LMT during RMS 2021-2022, giving 16.83 lakh farmers MSP value of Rs 36,208 crore, it said.