New Delhi: Food Corporation of India, the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of wheat, has purchased 9.8 lakh tonnes of the foodgrain from farmers till yesterday out of 16.7 lakh tonnes which arrived in the mandis.
Of the total wheat procurement, Haryana contributed most to the central pool with 6.03 lakh tonnes followed by Punjab at 3.74 lakh tonnes, an official said.
About 6.4 lakh tonnes of wheat arrived in mandis of Haryana while 4.35 lakh tonnes in Punjab till 12 April.
However, FCI is yet to procure a sufficient quantity in Uttar Pradesh, which is evident from the fact that out of 44,000 tonnes of wheat that arrived in the various mandis of the state, FCI and other state agencies were able to buy only 1,500 tonnes.
“Because of late harvesting in UP, the wheat procurement is expected to pick up in May,” the official said.
Wheat procurement would further pick up in Punjab after the harvest festival of Baisakhi.
“Traditionally, wheat comes into mandis in Punjab only after Baisakhi,” he said.
The procurement process has picked up slowly in Punjab and Haryana from 9 April although FCI started the exercise in these two major wheat growing states from the beginning of the month.
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 to meet buffer stock requirements.
Learning from last year’s experience, the government this time announced a competitive purchase price of Rs850 per 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.