New Delhi: The government has crossed the wheat procurement target of 150 lakh tons for this fiscal and hopes to lift 180 lakh tons of the grain, which could ease the supply-side concerns.
Food Corporation of India, the biggest procurement agency in the country, and other agencies have procured 154.22 lakh tons wheat till May 1, compared to 82.33 lakh tons in the corresponding period last year.
“We are hopeful that procurement may reach about 180 lakh tons by end of the season,” FCI Chairman and Managing Director Alok Sinha told reporters here.
The purchases by the government for its buffer stock requirement would continue till May 15 in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, while it ends by June 15 in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Sinha said better support price, less purchases by private sector and high arrival are some of the factors that led to achieving the procurement target this year.
The government is paying Rs 1,000 per quintal as minimum support price for wheat compared to Rs 850 last year.
Lower procurement had forced the government to import 73 lakh tons wheat during last two years for meeting its social commitments of providing foodgrains to the poor at lower rate.
Sinha said private traders have purchased only 12 lakh tons wheat this season compared to 39 lakh tons last year. “The purchases in the private sector may go up to a maximum of 20 lakh tons,” he added.
Private traders are not active in the market as last time they had purchased the wheat thinking prices would go up, which did not happen, the FCI CMD said, adding the stock declaration order may have helped in dissuading them.