New Delhi: In a big relief to the government facing high inflation, wheat procurement has reached 148.57 lakh tonnes — only 1.5 lakh tonnes short of year’s target.
Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other agencies have procured over 148 lakh tonnes of wheat till yesterday (30 April) and are likely to exceed the year’s procurement target of 150 lakh tonnes today, a government official said.
The total procurement by government agencies in 2007-08 was 111.2 lakh tonnes.
Lower procurement during last two years had forced the government to import wheat in a large quantity for meeting buffer stock requirement.
In 2006, India imported 55 lakh tonnes of wheat, as procurement was only 92 lakh tonnes. Last year also, the procurement fell short of the target, prompting the Centre to import 18 lakh tonnes.
With procurement all set to surpass the year’s target, India may not need to import wheat to keep its PDS running.
Enthused by the procurement process, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had exuded confidence that procurement could reach up to 190 lakh tonnes by end of the season.
This year FCI started procuring on a positive note with its wheat stock position reaching 55.49 lakh tonnes as on 1 April, compared to the buffer norm of 40 lakh tonnes.
Wheat production is estimated at 76.78 million tonnes this year. The government is offering a minimum support price of Rs1,000 a quintal to farmers.