Wheat procurement down 3.5 per cent

The procurement of wheat, which started in April this year, is down 3.5 per cent compared to the last season's level of 21.89 million tonnes, despite record production, government data showed.

Wheat procurement stood at 22.68 million tonnes in the year-ago period.

The government expects to procure 24.5-25 million tonnes of wheat in the 2010-11 marketing year (April-March) as against a record 25.4 million tonnes last year, food and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said earlier this month. However, states have set a target to procure 26.2 million tonnes.

Wheat procurement, which starts in April and continues till June, is down in all major states barring Madhya Pradesh.

According to Food Corporation of India (FCI) data, Punjab has contributed the maximum quantity at 1.01 million tonnes of wheat to the central pool so far this marketing year. However, it has purchased five per cent less against 1.06 million tonnes in the same period last year.

FCI has procured 6.32 million tonnes from Haryana so far this year, eight per cent lower than 6.88 million tonnes purchased last year.