June 1, 2011


India's FCI achieves wheat procurement target



Purchases by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies from farmers reached a record 26 million tonnes on Tuesday (May 31), even as the Indian government's wheat procurement drive winds down in the key states of Haryana, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh.


In fact, an FCI official said that the procurement has crossed the targeted 26-million tonne mark.


This is the highest wheat procurement by the FCI; the previous record had been 25.38 million tonnes, in 2009-10.


Officials said that procurement drives in other producing states such as Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh would continue till the end of June.


According to the latest data, Punjab contributed more than 10.9 million tonnes this season against 10.1 million tonnes last year. Haryana' contribution to the central pool had been more than 6.8 million tonnes compared with 6.3 million tonnes last fiscal year. Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh also contributed 4.6 million tonnes and 2.2 million tonnes, respectively, against 3.5 million tonnes and 1.6 million tonnes reported last year.


In anticipation of a bumper crop during current year, the government had hiked this year's procurement target by more than 16% to a new high of 26 million tonne.


"In all the key producing states the procurement of wheat has exceeded last year's level," the FCI official said.


The government had announced a bonus of INR50 (US$1.11) per quintal for wheat farmers over and above the minimum support price (MSP) of INR1,120 (US24.95) per quintal, while Madhya Pradesh government had declared R100 per quintal as additional bonus.


The government procures wheat for supplying to states for implementing the targeted public distribution system and maintaining strategic reserves and buffer stocks norms.


Meanwhile, according to latest food ministry data, the total stocks of mostly wheat and rice were more than 59.13 million tonnes at the start of this month against the strategic and buffer stocks norms of 21.2 million tonnes.


Despite having surplus wheat stocks, food and consumer affairs minister KV Thomas had recently suggested a cautions approach in allowing wheat exports as it could lead to a rise in the prices of the essential food item.


"All angles have to be looked into and any decision on wheat export should not affect the present stabilised prices of essential commodities," Thomas had stated. The government had placed the ban on the wheat export in February 2007.


In anticipation of a bumper wheat crop, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had supported limited exports of wheat to ensure farmers get a better price for their produce.

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