New Delhi: Admitting that wheat procurement has been affected due to late arrival of the foodgrain in the market, the government today said farmers’ strategy to maximise profits by separating straw from wheat was causing the delay.
Wheat procurement as on yesterday stood at 35.45 lakh tonnes as against 56.46 lakh tonnes till last year.
The arrivals stood at 46.81 lakh tonnes as on 17 April compared to 67.9 lakh tonnes as on same date last year.
“The arrival of the wheat in the market has been slightly late as growers are using hand-operated harvesting machine to maximise extraction of straw from wheat crop instead of mechanised system,” Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told reporters on the sidelines of the NDC meeting.
The minister said the new strategy of the farmers was to maximise their returns as the prices of straw, used for cattle feed, had gone up considerably in the market.
The process would have to be undertaken through use of hand operated machines as it would not damage the straw content, he said.
In reply to a query, Pawar said the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana had assured that wheat production would be good and the procurement will pick up.
The Minister said there were indications that the high MSP of Rs 850 per quintal had forced the private traders to think twice before offering higher price, especially in Punjab and Haryana.
However, this did not apply to the purchase of the more expensive “sarbati” wheat from Madhya Pradesh where private players were active, he said.