Moga: Farmers in the prime wheat-producing state of Punjab would oppose the Centre’s move to import the grain by staging a protest in Delhi on 22 May. “The demonstration is aimed at pressing the Union government to stop importing wheat and instead give Rs1,140 per quintal minimum support price (MSP) to farmers,” Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) president Ajmer Singh said on Wednesday. “It is unfortunate that the Centre is ready to pay Rs1,200 per quintal, for imported wheat, but not more than Rs 850 to farmers here.”
He added that a five-member farmers’ delegation will soon be submitting a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar stressing for an MSP of Rs1,140 per quintal for wheat, and Rs825 for paddy. They would also demand complete waiver of farmers’ loans.
Meanwhile, heavy buying by local flour mills in Ludhiana has pushed up wheat prices here by Rs40, to Rs890 per quintal, the highest price offered since the start of wheat procurement this year
Wheat field: Farmers want a minimum support price of Rs1,140
“Flour mills have been offering to lift wheat at a rate between Rs885 and Rs890 per quintal at Khanna grain market,” said an official of the department of food and supplies.
However, experts have termed the surge in wheat price as “temporary trend” which would not last long.
As per estimates, big farmers across Punjab have hoarded almost 20 lakh tonnes of wheat in order to get remunerative prices. “Farmers, who have stored their crop in anticipation of a higher price, are expected to bring it to the grain markets in July. As a result, the price would further crash,” said Raj Sood, an analyst.
Wheat arrivals in Ludhiana including Khanna, Asia’s biggest grain market, have registered a dip of 24.58% at 4.79 lakh tonnes as on 1 May against 6.35 lakh tonnes in the same period last year.