New Delhi: The government said on 21 April it imported wheat during the last two years at a higher rate than the minimum support price (MSP) paid to farmers.
“Import of wheat was done by floating global tenders at prevailing international prices which were higher than MSP,” Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told Lok Sabha in a written reply.
While 55.54 lakh tonnes of wheat were imported at a weighted average price of $204.66 a tonne during 2006-07, 17.69 lakh tonnes were imported at a price of $372.82 during 2007-08, he added.
Replying to a query whether there is any proposal to procure wheat at the price being paid for import, Pawar said: “Wheat is procured at MSP, while its import is done through global tenders floated by designated public sector undertakings who have requisite expertise in international trade”.
The tender was published in leading newspapers as well as on the websites of these undertakings in order to get wider participation. Further, the tender terms were streamlined to get competitive bids, he added.
In reply to a separate query, Minister of State for Agriculture, Akhilesh Prasad Singh said wheat stocks as on 1 April, 2004, is more than the buffer norms of 40 lakh tonnes at the start of Rabi Marketing Season 2008-09.
Singh said the Centre has not fixed the procurement target for wheat since procurement by government agencies is open-ended.