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Posted at: Apr 17, 2018, 1:27 AM; last updated: Apr 17, 2018, 11:02 AM (IST)

Wheat purchase by FCI set to stay below 20 per cent

Wheat purchase by FCI set to stay below 20 per cent
File photo

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16

The Food Corporation of India (FCI) is likely to purchase less than 20 per cent of the total arrivals in Punjab during the ongoing wheat procurement season.

Of a total wheat production of 166 lakh metric tonnes (LMT), 130 LMT is expected to arrive in various mandis of Punjab. The various state government procurement agencies and FCI are targeting to procure 119 LMT of wheat, most of which will be done by April-end. Officials in the FCI say though they have been given a target to procure 24 LMT of wheat this year, their own procurement will be much less.

The agency is mandated to procure 20 per cent of the total arrivals, but over the past few years its maximum wheat procurement has been 15 per cent.

“Since the past few years, wheat procurement is handled mainly by the state government agencies. Presently, our focus is on accepting the custom-milled rice from state government agencies and on moving the foodgrain stocks from Punjab to the recipient states,” a senior officer in the FCI, Punjab office, told The Tribune.

The movement of foodgrains from Punjab to the recipient states has remained slow for the past one year. As a result, much less storage space is available to accommodate the new wheat arrivals for this year. It is learnt that Punjab has 26 lakh tonne wheat of the previous season and 90 lakh tonne rice, while the FCI is waiting to get 14 lakh tonne of custom-milled rice from the rice shellers. The covered storage space available is just 35 LMT. Wheat is generally stored in covered stores and thus the FCI is focusing on making this space available.

In 2017, the FCI procured 10 LMT of wheat from a total of 117 LMT purchased by all government agencies. In 2016, from a total of 89 LMT that was purchased by all procurement agencies, the FCI had procured 17.5 LMT. This shows the decline in wheat purchase by the FCI over the years.

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