After paddy record, wheat procurement at all-time high

Amid protests against the three farm laws, the procurement of wheat has soared to an all-time high, a record seen with paddy as well.

The latest data available with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) shows wheat procurement reached 405 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) till May 29 in the ongoing rabi marketing season (RMS)—4 per cent higher than 390 LMT in RMS 2020-21. The current year’s wheat procurement figure is the highest ever.

This is also the first time that wheat procurement has crossed the 400 LMT mark.

In the current rabi marketing season, the highest wheat procurement—132 LMT—has been reported from Punjab. The state is followed by Madhya Pradesh (127 LMT) and Haryana (84.93 LMT).

Last year, Madhya Pradesh was the top wheat procuring state.

During this rabi season, wheat procurement has been higher in both Punjab and Haryana, which are the epicentre of farmers’ agitation. Last year, the wheat procurement figures for Punjab and Haryana were 127 LMT and 74 LMT respectively.

The record wheat procurement comes just after the all-time high procurement of paddy. In the 2020-21 kharif marketing season, paddy procurement was 789 LMT—compared to 773 LMT in KMS 2019-20, according to FCI data. The highest paddy procurement has been reported from Punjab. It is followed by Telangana, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Haryana.

According to FCI, there were about 19,036 wheat procurement centres during the ongoing 2021-22 rabi marketing season, while the number of procurement centres for paddy was 73,870 during KMS 2020-21.

The Centre procures foodgrains with two objectives—ensuring MSP to farmers and availability of food grains to the weaker sections at affordable prices under the public distribution system.

According to FCI, the total stock of food grains—wheat, rice and coarse grains in the central pool is around 1,000 lakh metric tonnes—wheat (525.65 LMT), rice (304.85 LMT), unmilled paddy (262.20 LMT equivalent to 176 LMT of rice) and coarse grain (7.50 LMT). In May last year, foodgrain stock in the central pool was around 800 LMT.

The current foodgrain stock is much higher than buffer stock norms. According to the current foodgrain stocking norms, effective since July 2017, a total quantity of 210.40 LMT of wheat and rice is required as the operational stock and strategic reserves as of April 1, followed by 411.20 LMT as of July 1, 307.7 LMT as of October 1, and 214.10 LMT on January 1 every year.

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