Business News/ News / India/  FCI procures season’s first wheat in Madhya Pradesh, buys 10,727 tonne

New Delhhi: The Food Corp. of India (FCI) procured 10,727 tonne of wheat on Monday, the first day of 2023-24 rabi marketing year. The quantity was purchased at the minimum support price of 2,125 per quintal in Madhya Pradesh, said Ashok Meena, chairman and managing director of the government agency.

“Though procurement in Madhya Pradesh was kicked off on March 20, we have purchased the season’s first wheat on Monday amid huge supply from farmers," Meena told reporters on Tuesday.

Last year on the same day, zero quantity of wheat was procured, and the total quantity in March last year was 10,000 tonne, FCI head informed.

Wheat has been procured at Ujjain, Dewas, Indore,Bhopal, Shajapur and Sehore of Madhya Pradesh, and the government agency is gearing up to commence wheat procurement in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh from 1 April.

Wheat production is unlikely to fall despite erratic weather conditions, said Meena. “Low temperature favours wheat crops to ripen better. Therefore, wheat production is unlikely to shrink. Production of wheat is seen to be112 MT this year," he said quoting the second advance estimate by the agriculture ministry.

This indicates the estimated wheat procurement target of 34.15 million tonne during the 2023-24 marketing season starting April could be achieved, Meena added.

FCI targets to procure about 13.2 million tonne (MT) rabi wheat from farmers across Punjab, while it estimates to buy 8.0 million tonne and 7.5 million tonne of the foodgrain from Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, respectively.

For the 2023-24 (Apr-Mar) marketing season, over 3.1 million farmers have so far registered to participate in public procurement operations of wheat.

The FCI chairman informed that offloading of 33.78 lakh tonne wheat under open market sales scheme (OMSS) and disbursement of additional 70,000 tonne to Tamil Nadu and procuring agencies such as National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation (NCCF) and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) has brought prices down to 22-23 per kg in mandis.

Prices are likely to decline further, he added.

Opening stock balance with FCI is estimated to be 8.4 million tonne as on 1 April, excluding the fresh procurement, according to the chairman.

About the export ban on wheat, Meena said that no export will be allowed until domestic food security is ensured.

Puja Das
Puja Das is a New Delhi based policy reporter covering food, farm, fertiliser, water, and climate policies for Mint. Puja reports on farmers' distress and how the agriculture sector is impacting India's rural economy and policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at COP27. Puja holds a post-graduation degree in Broadcast Journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore.
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Updated: 29 Mar 2023, 10:16 AM IST
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