New Delhi: The Government has said lower wheat procurement by Food Corporation of India was partly due to aggressive purchases made by private sector.
“The procurement was less than the estimated requirement due to low market arrivals and high private participation in procurement,” Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar informed Parliament yesterday.
The total procurement of wheat in the private sector stood at 18.76 lakh tonnes as on 30 July in the current marketing season. Government maintains a database of only large companies, who have to file returns if they purchase more than 50,000 tonnes each in the entire season.
FCI and other agencies procured 111.04 lakh tonnes of wheat this year out of 154 lakh tonnes of the foodgrain arrived at different wholesale markets in the country. According to the fourth advance estimate, wheat production in 2006-07 Rabi season was 74.7 million tonnes.
The Government had a target of 150 lakh tonnes procurement for public distribution system and other welfare schemes.
The lower-than-targeted purchase led to the government decision to import 50 lakh tonnes of wheat during the current fiscal, which it said was meant to augment the buffer stocks.
Three companies have been awarded contracts to supply 5.11 lakh tonnes of wheat at an average price of $325.59 a tonne.
Meanwhile, the foodgrain stocks with FCI stood at 211.84 lakh tonnes as on 1 August 2007. Of the total foodgrains, wheat stock was 120.2 lakh tonnes and rice was at 91.65 lakh tonnes this year, an FCI official said.