Ludhiana: Wheat prices in Punjab have firmed up by Rs40-45 per quintal in the last two weeks as local flour mills have stepped up buying after government procurement in the state ended on 15 June.
“The prices have touched Rs895 per quintal because of more purchase being made by local flour mills for their own consumption,” a leading local wheat trader Raj Sood said.
While buying is expected to gain momentum in the coming weeks, wheat traders said prices at mandis in Punjab were not likely to cross the Rs910 per quintal level.
However, prices may go up by Rs10 per quintal in the next 20-25 days due to continuous buying by flour mills, they said.
Bhartiya Kisan Union general secretary Bhupinder Singh said wheat prices might touch Rs1,000-1,050 per quintal in coming months on the back of strong demand for the foodgrain.
The Centre stopped wheat procurement in Punjab and Haryana from 16 June as the season ended in these two major growing states.
The government was paying Rs850 per quintal that included Rs100 bonus over and above the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs750. This means any procurement, if needed, would have to be at the MSP level only unless the government decides to extend the bonus again.
Procurement with bonus was extended by 15 days after it expired on 31 May.
Food Corporation of India, the nodal central agency for foodgrain procurement and distribution in the country, bought 6.7 million tonnes from Punjab this year.
The state remains the largest contributor to the central pool.
Flour millers in the state have so far purchased 300,000-400,000 tonnes of wheat to replenish their stock out of the annual requirement of 600,000-700,000 tonnes, a trader said.
Although wheat arrival in mandis is yet to stop, the volume has considerably reduced.