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Business News/ News / India/  Amid expectations of bumper wheat output, procurement target set lower at 30-32 million tn for 2024-25
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Amid expectations of bumper wheat output, procurement target set lower at 30-32 million tn for 2024-25

As of now, wheat stocks with the FCI, which maintains the government's granaries, stand at 10.34 million tonnes, the lowest since 2016. The Centre needs 18 million tonnes of the food grain annually for distribution under free ration scheme

Government sets wheat procurement target at 30-32 million tonnes for 2024-25 season. Premium
Government sets wheat procurement target at 30-32 million tonnes for 2024-25 season.

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday set the wheat procurement target at 30-32 million tonnes for the 2024-25 Rabi marketing season, according to a statement from the food ministry.

The procurement target comes amid expectations of a bumper wheat crop of 114 million tonnes in the 2023-24 crop year.

Wheat production stood at a record 110.55 million tonnes in the 2022-23 crop year (July-June), compared to 107.7 million tonnes harvested the previous year.

In the 2023-24 marketing season, which starts April, the government procured about 26.2 million tonnes of wheat, compared to a target of 34.15 million tonnes. In 2022-23, purchases totalled a modest 18.8 million tonnes against the target of 44.4 million tonnes. Procurement fell due to a decline in output.

India is the world's second-largest wheat producer and consumer after China. The kitchen staple and the second-largest food grain sown in India after rice is planted during October-November and harvested over February-March.

Over the past two years, India's wheat production was hurt due to severe heatwaves during the time of the harvest. As a result, domestic supplies shrank pushing up wheat prices, which in turn saw the government deploy stocks from the central pool.

As of now, wheat stocks with the Food Corp of India, which maintains the government's granaries, stand at 10.34 million tonnes, the lowest since 2016.

The Centre needs 18 million tonnes of the food grain annually for distribution under free ration scheme – Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyana Anna Yojana.

Meanwhile, for Rabi rice the procurement target has been set at 9-10 million tonnes, and for coarse cereals at 600,000 tonnes.

The targets were fixed after deliberations with state food secretaries in a meeting chaired by union food secretary Sanjeev Chopra on Wednesday.

States and union territories have been asked to increase procurement of millets for crop diversification and enhance nutritional value in diets.

Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, key contributors to the central wheat stock, are expected to procure 13 million tonnes and 8 million tonnes in the next season, respectively. The government's minimum support price (MSP) for wheat has been set at 2,275 per 100 kg for the 2024-25 season, up 150 from the last season, reflecting the government's effort to incentivize farmers.

Mill-quality desi wheat at markets in Indore is being sold for 2,250-2,300 per 100 kg.

Procurement targets may be adjusted based on market arrivals and purchases.

The government aims to align procurement more closely with production levels, especially in states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Bihar, where procurement initiatives are scheduled to start in March. Both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have announced a bonus of 125 per 100 kg over the MSP.

Madhya Pradesh is expected to start MSP operations from 22 March, while Punjab and Haryana will start from 1 April.

Wheat procurement is typically carried out between April and June.

As procurement kicks-off Friday, the government has ceased open market sales of wheat, which saw record sales of 9.4 million tonnes to bulk buyers through weekly e-auctions since last June.

However, officials said that the lifting of grain for Wednesday’s e-auction where 46,000 tonnes of wheat was sold to bulk buyers will continue till the third week of March.

Inflation in wheat declined to 2.33% in January from 4.69% in December year-on-year, largely because supplies improved amid aggressive sales by FCI in the open market.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Puja Das
Puja Das is a New Delhi based reporter, covering food, farm, fertiliser, water, and climate change policies for Mint. Puja reports on food security, farmers' distress and how the agriculture sector is impacting India's rural economy along with policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at COP21 in Paris. Puja holds a post-graduation degree in Broadcast Journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore.
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Published: 29 Feb 2024, 10:56 AM IST
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