Wheat procurement reaches near 1.5 million tonnes, up by 41%

Wheat procurement by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for the Centre’s buffer stocks has reached 1.44 million tonnes (mt) – 41 per cent higher than 1.03 mt in the year-ago period. However, this year procurement began on March 13, starting from Rajasthan. Though the Government has set a target to buy 37.29 mt in the marketing year beginning April 1, officials have said that the “realistic” procurement may be 31-32 mt.

The Agriculture Ministry has pegged wheat production at a record 112.02 mt for the 2023-24 crop year (July-June). The percentage of procurement against arrival this year is 54 per cent against 39 per cent a year ago.

The bulk of the purchase has been reported from Madhya Pradesh at 1.29 mt until April 9, which is 30 per cent more than nearly 1 mt bought in the year-ago period. The minimum price in mandis (agri terminal markets) of MP has also increased in the past week to Rs 2,250/quintal from Rs 2,235/quintal on April 3, traders said. The State Government is paying a bonus of Rs 125/quintal over and above the wheat’s minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2,275/quintal.

U.P., Rajasthan buys

But, Rajasthan, which also announced the same amount of bonus, has reported a procurement of 31,956 tonnes out of 0.24 mt arrival. There was no purchase in Rajasthan in the year-ago period. Uttar Pradesh, which last month unofficially asked big companies and stockists not to enter the wheat market until the state buys the targetted quantity, has purchased 38,891 tonnes as against 6,907 tonnes year-ago.

In Haryana, the procurement has reached 83,203 tonnes so far, as against 23,191 tonnes year-ago while purchases in Punjab are likely to get momentum after April 13 due to celebration of annual Baisakhi festival.

The Centre estimates to buy 13 mt of wheat from Punjab, 8 mt, each from Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, 6 mt from Uttar Pradesh and 2 mt in Rajasthan. Industry officials peg the current year’s procurement to rise 30 per cent from last year’s 26.2 mt.

In 2023-24 season, the Centre had procured 26.2 mt of wheat out of the targetted 34.15 mt and in 2022-23 only 18.8 mt was bought for the Central Pool against the target of 44.4 mt.

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