The government's wheat procurement has reached 25.2 million tonnes so far in the ongoing 2023-24 marketing year, up 42 per cent from the year-ago period, according to the Food Ministry.
The procurement so far has already breached the 18.8 million tonnes mark achieved in the full 2022-23 marketing year (April-March).
With the ongoing procurement of wheat and rice, the foodgrains stock levels are on the rise in the government granaries ensuring food security to the entire nation, the ministry said.
Wheat is the main rabi crop and the government has kept a procurement target of 34.15 million tonnes for the current marketing year. Although the marketing year runs from April to March, the bulk of the procurement is done between April to June.
"Nearly, 25.2 million tonne procurement of wheat has been done till 9th May, 2023. This figure is 7.5 million tonnes higher than the corresponding date during the 2022-23 rabi marketing year," the ministry said in a statement.
A major contribution has come from three key wheat procuring states of Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh with procurement of 11.86 million tonne, 6.21 million tonne and 6.65 million tonne, respectively, so far in the current marketing year, it said.
According to the ministry, about 20 lakh farmers have already been benefitted so far from the ongoing wheat procurement operations, with MSP (minimum support price ) payment of more than Rs 47,000 crores directly credited to their bank accounts.
More farmers are yet to be benefitted since the procurement is continuing smoothly as on a daily average more than 2 lakh tonne wheat is still being procured, it said.
State-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) along with other state agencies are engaged in the procurement operations.
One of the major factors contributing to the progressive procurement this year, the ministry said is the relaxation in quality specifications of wheat being procured by the central government. "This has been granted in view of untimely rains leading to lustre loss. This will reduce the hardship of farmers and check any distress sale."
In addition to already existing designated procurement centres, the central government this year has also allowed all states to open procurement centres at villages/panchayat level and to carry out the procurement through co-operative Societies/ Gram Panchayats/ Arhatias, etc for better outreach.
Due to lower production and higher global demand, FCI's procurement in the 2022-23 marketing year had declined to 18.8 million tonnes from the record 43.3 million tonnes purchased from the farmers in the previous year.
Meanwhile, rice procurement is also progressing smoothly as 36.6 million tonnes has been purchased till May 9 in the ongoing Kharif marketing year with another 14 million tonnes yet to be procured.
The combined stock position of wheat and rice in the central pool has reached 58 million tonnes now, which includes 31 million tonne of wheat and 27 million tonne of rice, the ministry said.
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