New Delhi: Sitting on a stock of 5.5 million tonnes of wheat before the marketing season, Food Corporation of India Monday expressed confidence that it will meet the government’s procurement target of 15 million tonnes for public distribution system.
“The closing stock is 5.5 million tonnes as against the buffer norm of 4 million tonnes,” FCI chairman and managing director Alok Sinha told reporters here.
When asked about the procurement, Sinha said, “I am absolutely sure that we will achieve the target”.
He also asserted that FCI would procure more grain if it comes to them. FCI, the nodal agency for foodgrains procurement and distribution, aims to purchase 15 million tonnes of wheat in Rabi marketing season 2008-09, which starts from 1 April. The government was able to procure only 11 million tonnes last year, forcing it to import 1.8 million tonnes to augment buffer stock.
Sinha said FCI and other state procurement agencies have already bought over one lakh tonnes of wheat, mainly from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The process would start in Punjab and Haryana from 1 April.
He noted that private traders are not interested in buying wheat this year because of stable price and this would help FCI in meeting the target.
NAFED has been procuring wheat in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh on behalf of FCI, he said, adding that there are other agencies such as STC which have also shown interest in procurement.
On rice, Sinha said FCI will have a stock of 22 million tonnes as of 1 April, which is two million tonnes more than last year’s.