New Delhi: The government on Thursday fixed wheat procurement target at 32 million tonne (MT) for 2018-19 marketing year starting April, as against 30.82MT purchased by state-owned FCI during 2017-18.

A food ministry statement said the decision was taken at a meeting of state food secretaries in New Delhi to discuss procurement arrangements. The meeting was chaired by food secretary Ravi Kant. “In consultation with the states, it has been decided to keep an estimate of 32MT of wheat procurement during 2018-19 marketing year," the statement said.

Wheat procurement target, however, is higher than the actual purchase of 30.82MT during 2017-18 marketing year. Out of the total wheat procurement target for 2018-19 marketing year, Punjab aims to procure maximum at 11.9MT, followed by Haryana 7.4MT, Madhya Pradesh 6.7MT, Uttar Pradesh 4MT, Rajasthan 1.6MT, Bihar 2MT and Uttarakhand 1MT.

Although wheat marketing year runs from April-March, the bulk of procurement is done in first three months. Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies undertake purchase at the minimum support price.

In case of rice, the government has set a target to buy 5.5MT grown in rabi season of 2017-18 crop year, which is over and above the estimate of 37.5MT set for buying kharif rice this year. Already, kharif rice procurement has reached 28.97MT as on 9 February this year.

Wheat production target has been kept at 97.50MT for 2017-18 crop year and the government is hoping better production at an all time high of over 100MT even as acreage under the crop is down 4%.

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