MP farmers prefer to sell wheat to private companies

Chennai: Wheat procurement for buffer stocks has hit a hurdle in Madhya Pradesh with farmers preferring to sell their produce to private companies than central agencies because the prices offered by private traders are higher than the minimum support price (MSP) offered by the procurement agencies, say wheat farmers in the state.

While prices are ruling at Rs940-50 a quintal in mandis in Madhya Pradesh, the agencies procuring wheat for buffer stocks are offering Rs750 as MSP plus Rs100 a quintal bonus that was cleared by the centre last week. The centre plans to procure 150-lakh tonnes for buffer stocks.

The other reason is the centre''s directive to the Railways not to provide wagons for transporting private trade wheat consignments.

Trade sources said wheat could be currently procured from Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat only. However, Gujarat has come up with the stock limit order where agencies can''t purchase more than 5,000 tonnes at a time. And to move wheat out of the state the state government has to be informed leading to a delay of two days. This is also a reason why private traders are swarming the mandis in Madhya Pradesh.

Wheat prices have begun to move up after the Centre announced the Rs100 bonus over and above MSP last weekend. In New Delhi market, wheat (dara) was quoted at Rs1,045-1,055 a quintal on Wednesday against Rs1,030 on March 16, when the bonus payment was announced.