Centre to procure 32 million tonnes wheat from farmers in 2018-19

Government may end up buying less than 30 million tonnes of wheatThe government has set a target of procuring 32 million tonnes of wheat from farmers in the 2018-19 crop marketing season that starts from April, which is a million tonnes less than the target set last year but more than the actual procurement.In 2017-18, India procured around 31 million tonnes of wheat from farmers, marginally less than the target of 33 million tonnes.According to an official statement released after a meeting of state secretaries with the Central government, among the big states, Punjab will purchase 11.9 million tonnes, followed by Haryana at 7.4 million tonnes and Madhya Pradesh at 6.7 million tonnes.Uttar Pradesh, which procured almost 3.7 million tonnes of wheat in 2017-18 marketing year that ends in March has decided to procure around 4 million tonnes in 2018-19 which will more than the trend seen in last few years.Though, wheat production for 2018-19 year isn’t out yet officially, the procurement targets show that there might not be a very rise in production.Wheat production in 2017-18 was estimated at 95 million tonnes while this year the government has hoped that production could reach almost 100 million tonnes on the back of favourable weather.Wheat acreage in the current year has been around 30.4 million hectares which is around 450,000 hectares less than last year due to drop in area in Madhya Pradesh.Wheat stocks in 2017-18 as on January 1 2018 is estimated at 19.56 million tonnes, which is almost 42 per cent more than the buffer stocking requirement.Rice stocks as on January 1 was 16.20 million tonnes which is around 113 per cent more than buffer stocking requirement as on January 1.The official statement also said that government has decided to procure around 5.5 million tonnes of rabi rice from farmers as against a target of purchasing 5 million tonnes last year.This will over the 2017-18 kharif rice procurement target of 37.5 million tonnes of which around 28.30 million tonnes have been purchased till January 1, 2018.Around 27.38 million tonnes of rice has been actually purchased during the same period last year.Rice production in 2017-18 is estimated 95 million tonnes which is marginally less than the same period last year.“States have been requested to increase number of procurement centres to make proper arrangement of logistics and give wide publicity to MSP and FAQ and ensure quick payments to farmers for their produce,” an official statement said after a meeting between state government officials and Centre.

Source: Business Standard