Government agencies have so far procured 19.5 million tonnes of wheat in the current rabi marketing season (RMS), surpassing procurement done in 2022-23. While in RMS 2022-23, wheat procurement was 18.8 million tonnes, wheat procurement so far during RMS 2023-24, ie, till 26 April 2023, stood at 19.5 million tonnes.
This has largely benefitted the farmers. Payment of MSP of about Rs41,148 crore has already been made to about 1.50 million farmers during the ongoing wheat procurement operations, says a press release issued by the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution.
Notably, major contribution in the procurement came from three wheat procuring states of Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh with procurement of 8.98 million tonnes, 5.43 million tonnes and 4.95 million tonnes, respectively.
One of the major factors, contributing to the progressive procurement this year, is the grant of relaxation by the centre in quality specifications of wheat being procured, in view of untimely rains leading to luster loss. This will reduce the hardship of farmers and check any distress sale, says the release.
The central government has also allowed all the states to open procurement centres at village/ panchayat level and to carry out the procurement through co-operative societies/ gram panchayats/ arhatias etc also in addition to already existing designated procurement centres, for better outreach.
In addition, rice procurement is also progressing smoothly. A quantity of 35.4 million tonnes of rice has been procured till 26 April 2023 during kharif crop of KMS 2022-23 with another 14 million tonnes yet to be procured. Further, 10.6 million tonnes of rice has been estimated to be procured during the rabi crop of KMS 2022-23.
The combined stock position of wheat and rice in the central pool, has surpassed 51 million tonnes, which puts the country in a comfortable position to meet its requirements of food grains. With the ongoing procurement of wheat and rice, the food grains stock levels in government granaries are on the rise.