Govt lowers wheat production estimates by 5.7 per cent; public procurement to be not even half that last year
The Ministry of Agriculture has revised downwards the estimate for wheat production by 5.7 per cent. The earlier projection for wheat production was 11.13 crore tonnes. It has now been revised to 10.5 crore tonnes. In 2020-21, wheat production stood at 10.96 crore tonnes.
The public procurement of wheat is likely to be even less than half that last year at 195 lakh tonnes (lt) due to higher exports and a decline in production. This was stated by Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey in a press conference on Wednesday.
Although the experts had constantly been speaking of a decline in the production of wheat, this is for the first time that the government has come up with an official statement. However, Pandey said that there was no problem of wheat supply for domestic demand under the Public Distribution System (PDS). He also denied any possibility of controlling wheat exports and said that thanks to exports, farmers were getting a good price for their produce.
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The Food Secretary said that the Ministry of Agriculture had revised downwards the estimate for wheat production by 5.7 per cent. The earlier projection for wheat production was 11.13 crore tonnes. It has now been revised to 10.5 crore tonnes. In 2020-21, wheat production stood at 10.96 crore tonnes.
Pandey said that new markets have opened in Egypt, Turkey and some European Union (EU) countries for wheat exports from India. He said that private traders had entered into export contracts for 40 lt of wheat for the current quarter and of this, 10 lt of wheat had been exported so far. He said that Indian traders had the opportunity to export wheat up to June, after which wheat from Argentina would arrive in the global market. India exported 70 lt of wheat in the financial year 2021-22.
The Food Secretary said that the farmers were selling their produce to the traders above the Minimum Support Price (MSP) due to the increase in the demand for exports. So, there has been a decline in procurement by government agencies. However, a decline in public procurement is to the farmers’ advantage as they are getting higher prices.
Regarding the food stocks, Pandey said that we were in a surplus situation. We have enough of foodgrains to make them available under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Pandey said that 175 lt of wheat has been procured by the government so far and this is expected to remain at about 195 lt for the 2022-23 marketing year. 20 lt of wheat is expected to be procured in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The public procurement of wheat stood at 433.44 lt last year. The government had fixed a target of procurement of 444 lt this year.