New Delhi: Food Corporation of India, the nodal agency for buying foodgrain, has procured over 1.96 lakh tonnes of wheat till 9 April from the mandis for the public distribution system and other social welfare schemes.
“We have procured 1,96,137 tonnes till yesterday,” a top FCI official told PTI.
The procurement process picked up from 9 April, which is evident from the fact that out of the total quantity purchased so far 164,567 tonnes were lifted on that day, he added.
Wheat procurement would further pick up in Punjab after the harvest festival of Baisakhi, which falls on 13 April.
“Traditionally, the wheat comes into mandis in Punjab only after Baisakhi,” he said.
The official exuded confidence that FCI would be able to procure 151 lakh tonnes of wheat as targeted by the agency.
The government was able to procure only 92.26 lakh tonnes of wheat last year against the targeted 162.07 lakh tonnes due to aggressive buying by private traders. This forced the government to import 55 lakh tonnes of wheat to meet the buffer stock requirement.
Learning from last year’s experience, the government this time announced a competitive purchase price of Rs850 a quintal against last year’s Rs700.
Wheat output is pegged at 73.7 million tonnes against last year’s 69.35 million tonnes as per government’s third advance estimate.