Updated February 29th, 2024 at 15:47 IST

Government sets wheat procurement target of 30-32 million tonnes

The ongoing farmers' protest at the Punjab-Haryana borders is anticipated to have minimal impact on procurement operations.

Reported by: Business Desk
Government hikes wheat MSP | Image:Unsplash
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The government, through the food ministry, has set a conservative target for wheat procurement within the range of 30-32 million tonnes during the upcoming 2024-25 rabi marketing season. The decision comes despite the Ministry of Agriculture's optimistic outlook for a record wheat production of 114-115 million tonnes in the preceding 2023-24 crop year (July-June).

The target was solidified following extensive discussions with state food secretaries, culminating in a meeting chaired by Union Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra in the national capital on Wednesday.

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In an official statement, the ministry said, "After deliberations, the estimates for wheat procurement during the ensuing rabi marketing season of 2024-25 were fixed in the range of 30-32 million tonnes."

In addition to wheat, the ministry has delineated procurement targets for other essential grains. Paddy procurement, in terms of rice for the rabi season, is set within the range of 9-10 million tonnes. Furthermore, a procurement target of 6,00,000 tonnes has been established for rabi coarse grains/millets (Shri Anna).

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During the meeting, the centre stressed on the importance of states and Union Territories prioritising millet procurement to diversify crops and enhance nutrition in dietary patterns.

The government's wheat procurement track record has faced fluctuations due to varying production levels. In the 2023-24 season, the government procured approximately 26.2 million tonnes of wheat against the set target of 34.15 million tonnes. Conversely, in 2022-23, wheat procurement stood at 18.8 million tonnes, falling short of the 44.4 million tonnes target due to production declines.

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The ongoing farmers' protest at the Punjab-Haryana borders is anticipated to have minimal impact on procurement operations, according to recent statements by the food secretary.

Traditionally, wheat procurement occurs from April to March. However, this year, states have been granted flexibility to initiate procurement based on crop arrival in the market. Most states witness wheat arrivals in the first fortnight of March.

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Government agencies procure wheat and paddy at Minimum Support Prices (MSP) to augment foodgrain stock for public distribution under the National Food Security program and other welfare schemes.

At the onset of each marketing season, procurement targets are set in consultation with states and the Food Corporation of India.

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In the recent meeting, state governments were urged to enhance their existing MSP procurement applications in line with the standard features of the Centre's AgriStack portal to improve transparency and efficiency in the procurement system.

The meeting also addressed issues pertaining to supply chain optimization, infrastructure enhancement in procurement centres, and the integration of Fair Price Shops into the government-backed Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).

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During discussions, the Telangana government highlighted cost savings through supply chain optimization, while the UP government emphasized the effective supply of foodgrains to beneficiaries through the integration of e-PoS with electronic weighing scales.

(With PTI inputs)
 

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Published February 29th, 2024 at 13:42 IST