Demand up, govt procurement of Punjab wheat hits 15-yr low

Authorities wheat procurement in Punjab is about to fall to a 15-year low, with non-public purchases more likely to cross 5 lakh tonnes (lt) for the primary time since 2007. This comes on the again of rising export and home market demand, fuelled by the Russia-Ukraine warfare, and decrease crop yields as a result of irregular spike in temperatures from mid-March.

Authorities businesses, together with the Meals Company of India, had purchased 83.49 lt of wheat within the present rabi advertising season (April-June) as of Sunday night. “Going by the day by day market arrivals, which have clearly slowed down, complete procurement might not even attain 100 lt this time,” a senior Punjab Mandi Board official instructed The Indian Express.

Authorities wheat purchases from Punjab — which can be the biggest contributor to the Central pool — hit a report 132.14 lt within the 2021 season. The final time that procurement fell beneath 100 lt was again in 2007 and 2006, when these totaled 70.99 lt and 69.07 lt respectively.

In 2006 and 2007 — which additionally noticed hovering worldwide costs resulting in a world meals disaster — non-public purchases from Punjab’s mandis amounted to 13.12 lt and 9.18 lt, respectively. This yr, cumulative non-public wheat purchases had been at 4.61 lt as on Sunday, in comparison with a mere 1.14 lt for the entire of the final season, 1.93 lt in 2020, 2.80 lt in 2019 and a couple of.06 lt in 2018.

“We anticipate the 5 lt-mark to be crossed within the subsequent 3-4 days. That would be the first time since 2007,” knowledgeable the earlier-quoted official. Personal merchants and flour millers are additionally stated to be sourcing grain from exterior government-regulated APMC (agricultural produce market committee) mandis. These purchases, together with straight from farmers, aren’t formally recorded.

Kulwinder Singh, a farmer from Gadaya village in Nabha tehsil of Patiala district, is but to promote any of his 115 quintals of wheat grain from seven acres. The 55-year-old offered 130 out of his total 140 quintals crop final yr to authorities businesses on the minimum support price (MSP), whereas retaining the remaining for the household’s self-consumption.

“I can’t promote this time to the federal government and even non-public merchants now. I anticipate to understand higher costs afterward. The MSP (of Rs 2,015/quintal) is anyway too low, when my yields have dropped to beneath 16.5 quintals per acre, from 20 quintals final yr,” he stated.

Swaran Singh (43) has harvested 120 quintals – some 34 quintals lower than final yr’s – from his 6-acre holding in Poohli village of Bathinda district’s Nathana tehsil. He has already offered 88 quintals to the federal government on the MSP, whereas holding on to the remaining 32 quintals: “Some merchants are providing Rs 2,100/quintal via my arhatiya (fee agent). I don’t thoughts ready for some extra time”. He, too, is hoping for greater costs to compensate for yield losses from the early onset of summer time, which led to untimely ripening and drying of the crop.

Each farmers, curiously, participated within the agitation towards the Centre’s three farm legal guidelines that had been handed in September 2020 and repealed in November 2021. “We’re blissful that the vyapaari (non-public dealer) is shopping for extra wheat from us. But when the sarkari (authorities) MSP and APMC mandi go tomorrow, the Vyapaari will loot us,” claimed Kulwinder, who was an everyday on the protest website in Singhu on the Haryana-Delhi border.

Punjab accounted for 132.14 lt overseas’s complete authorities procurement of 433.44 lt in 2021, adopted by Madhya Pradesh (128.16 lt), Haryana (84.93 lt), Uttar Pradesh (56.41 lt) and Rajasthan (23.40 lt). With all these states additionally reporting a lot decrease purchases, the all-India determine may even dip to beneath 250 lt this yr, in line with some estimates.

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