India's rabi wheat procurement reaches 15.26 million tonnes

Government agencies in India have procured 15.26 million tonnes of wheat so far during the current rabi marketing season against the arrival of 16.37 million tonnes wheat in the mandis in major wheat growing states.

A government release based on data received from the department of food and public distribution said this represented an increase of 1.36 million tonnes over the procurement as of 20 April last year.

Wheat procurement stood at 13.89 million tonnes till 20 April 2009 in the previous marketing season.

Punjab is the largest contributor, with 7.52  million tonnes, followed by Haryana (5.32 million tonnes), Madhya Pradesh (2.51 million tonnes), Uttar Pradesh (4.2 lakh tonnes), Rajasthan (3.34 lakh tonnes) and Gujarat (1.9 lakh tonnes).

The central pool of wheat stock held by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other state agencies at the end of March 2010 was 16.13 million tonnes against the buffer norm of 4 million tonnes and strategic reserve of 3 million tonnes, minister of state for agriculture, consumer affairs, food and public distribution KV Thomas informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

Similarly, the actual stock of rice in the central pool is 26.71 million tonnes against buffer norm of 12.2 million tonnes and strategic reserve of 2 million tonnes.

In view of the comfortable stock position of wheat and rice, the centre has decided to allocate 2 million tonnes of wheat and 1 million tonnes of rice to state governments for sale to retail consumers during October 09 to March 2010 to check inflationary trends in food prices, the minister stated.

The centre had also allocated 1 million tonnes of wheat for sale through tender to bulk consumers. Subsequently, a quantity of 1.08 million tonnes of wheat out of savings from allocations for retail consumers, was also allocated for bulk consumers. Separately, a quantity of 5 lakh tonnes of wheat for tender sale to small processors through FCI was allocated, the minister added.