Public procurement of wheat reaches only 177.57 lt
The Union government has estimated that the public procurement of wheat may end up at about 195 lakh tonnes (lt) in the current Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) (2022-23), even less than half the targeted 444 lt. But now even the hope of the public procurement of wheat reaching this revised mark is dwindling. As per the latest figures, the public procurement of wheat has reached a mere 177.57 lt till May 10.
The Union government has estimated that the public procurement of wheat may end up at about 195 lakh tonnes (lt) in the current Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) (2022-23), even less than half the targeted 444 lt. But now even the hope of the public procurement of wheat reaching this revised mark is dwindling.
As per the latest figures, the public procurement of wheat has reached a mere 177.57 lt till May 10. Besides, there has been an unprecedented decline in the number of farmers who have come to sell wheat in public procurement in various states in comparison to the number of those who registered for same. In Uttarakhand, only one farmer has sold wheat in public procurement. In Uttar Pradesh (UP), Rajasthan and other states, too, there is a wide gap between the number of farmers registered and that who have turned up for sales.
The latest figures reveal that the maximum public procurement of 94.72 lt has been carried out in Punjab. This is more than half of the total public procurement in the country. Haryana stands second with a wheat procurement of 40.56 lt while Madhya Pradesh (MP) is at the third position with 40.17 lt. Only 2.08 lt of wheat has been procured by the government in UP so far. In Rajasthan, the figure is at 750.65 tonnes while the public procurement of wheat in Uttarakhand and Gujarat have been a paltry 3.20 tonnes and 5.90 tonnes respectively. The government has procured 2,809.74 tonnes of wheat in Himachal Pradesh (HP) and 255.04 tonnes in Jammu and Kashmir. The government has made the figures for public procurement of wheat in the current Rabi season available for only these nine states on the Central Food Grains Procurement Portal (CFPP).
A decline in wheat production has been considered to be a major reason for the decline in public procurement. Wheat grains shrivelled, especially in the northern states, due to an unusual rise in temperature in March and April. Farmers in most parts of the country say that their production has gone down by 15-25 per cent. However, the government has reduced its wheat production estimates by only 5.7 per cent. The earlier projection for wheat production was 11.13 crore tonnes, which has now been revised downward to 10.5 crore tonnes. Wheat production stood at 10.96 crores in 2020-21.
The increase in export demand for wheat has been considered to be another major reason for less public procurement. Wheat supply has reduced in the global market due to the Russia–Ukraine war. The demand for wheat from India has gone up due to this and, as a result, exporters have bought wheat on a large scale. Most of these purchases have been above the Minimum Support Price (MSP). Private traders have bought wheat for the domestic market, too, at prices above MSP. The MSP of wheat for the current RMS is Rs 2,015 per quintal while farmers have been paid Rs 2,100-Rs 2,300 per quintal in the market. Given this situation, the prices of wheat products have also begun to rise.
Owing to less public procurement, it will be for the first time that the old stocks of wheat in the central pool on April 1 may be more than the quantity of wheat procured in the new season. The stocks of wheat in the central pool stood at 189.90 lt on 1 April 2022.