Wheat prices cooled down due to regulating export: Food Secretary

Sanjeev Chopra said that the increase in the prices came down from 15% to 5% after the regulation.

Updated - November 26, 2022 04:20 pm IST

Published - November 23, 2022 10:17 pm IST - New Delhi

Image for representation purpose only.

Image for representation purpose only. | Photo Credit: PTI

Regulation in the export of wheat and atta has helped in controlling the prices, the Union Food and Public Distribution Ministry claimed on Wednesday. Food and Public Distribution Secretary Sanjeev Chopra told mediapersons that the increase in the prices came down from 15% to 5% after the regulation.

Mr. Chopra said the Centre decided to stop open market sales when wheat prices were going up. “Now, more stock is available for domestic consumption and public distribution system. As a result, the prices, compared to the prices in May, 2022, have came down about 7%. If MSP [Minimum Support Price] is factored in, the increase will be about 5%,” he said adding that an inter-ministerial committee met on weekly basis to monitor the situation.

Also Read | Wheat export doubles to $1.48 bn in April-Sept.

When asked whether the Centre would lift the ban on export, he said the primary concern of the government was food security of the country. Adequate stocks were available due to the measures taken by the Centre. “This is not a steep rise,” he said.

The Secretary added that procurement of paddy in the kharif marketing season (KMS) 2022-23 had started and a quantity of around 277.37 lakh metric tonne (LMT) (185.93 LMT in terms of rice) had been procured up to November, 21, which was higher as compared to the procurement during the same period last year. He said 18.51 lakh farmers had benefited as ₹ 54,559.85 crore had been paid to farmers directly into their accounts.

“It is expected that procurement of paddy in KMS 2022-23 across the country will remain normal. The rainfall condition this year has been fairly good in the country and the production of paddy is expected to remain normal,” he said. The Centre was expecting to procure 775.73 LMT paddy (521 LMT in terms of rice) in this season. The estimate of rabi season would be fixed in February/ March next year.

On the reduction in wheat procurement during the last rabi season, he said it was due to an increase in market price and demand-supply mismatch on account of geopolitical situation.

“The market prices of wheat remained continuously higher than the MSP throughout the procurement period across the country. Consequently, the farmers could reap higher remuneration for their produce which is the main objective of the policy of the government of India towards farmers’ welfare. On account of fairly good rainfall conditions in the country, it is expected that wheat production and procurement in the next rabi Season shall remain normal,” he said.

The Secretary said even after meeting additional allocation of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the National Food Security Act and other welfare schemes, the country had sufficient stocks of wheat and rice under the central pool over and above the buffer norms. “As on November 15, a quantity of 201 LMT wheat and 140 LMT rice is available in the central pool,” he said.

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