The Food Corporation of India (FCI) said that wheat procurement in the season that starts from the middle of March will be normal at around 30-40 million tonnes (mt) and that crop condition is normal, notwithstanding threat from rising temperatures, its Chairman and Managing Director Ashok K K Meena said on Thursday at a press conference.
“Area sown to wheat is higher than last year. The current condition of the wheat crop is very good. Our procurement should be normal at 30-40 mt in 2023-24,” said Meena.
Wheat procurement had declined last year due to a fall in domestic production and higher exports, he clarified.
Asked whether there would be any impact on wheat crop due to temperature rise, as forecast by the India Meteorological Department, Meena said it is unlikely to have any impact and that short-duration crop will not be affected.
According to the Second Estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture, the government has projected a record wheat production of 112.18 mt in the 2023-24 crop year (July-June).
Last year, wheat procurement for the central pool had declined to 18.79 mt, from 43.34 mt in the 2021-22 marketing year, as indicated by official data.
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FCI is the government’s nodal agency that undertakes the procurement and distribution of foodgrain for the public distribution system and welfare schemes.
According to FCI data, the corporation has so far managed to sell roughly 1.8 mt of wheat, of the earmarked 3 mt, in the first three auctions that are about 60 per cent of the allocated quantity.
Of this, approximately 1.2 mt has been lifted by buyers and will hit the market soon. The economic cost of wheat offered for sale through the auction process to cool prices is estimated to be about Rs 2,654 per quintal.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday reiterated that Northwest, Central, and East India are predicted to record maximum temperatures three to five degrees above normal over the next five days.
Many parts of the country are already recording temperatures that are usually logged in the first week of March. This has fuelled concern about an intense summer and heatwaves this year.
Weathermen also said that the mercury may soar to 40 degrees Celsius and above in one or two meteorological subdivisions of Northwest India in the first half of March.
“This higher day temperature might lead to an adverse effect on wheat. Since the crop is approaching the reproductive growth period, it is sensitive to temperature,” the Met said.
High temperatures during the flowering and maturing periods lead to a loss in yield.
There could be a similar impact on other standing crops and horticulture, it affirmed.
The IMD said farmers could opt for light irrigation if the crop appears to be under stress.