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As wheat prices rise,govt cuts procurement

MSP fails to attract farmers,state revises purchase targets.

Written by Faisal Fareed | Lucknow | Published: May 31, 2013 1:10:27 am

Failing to get wheat from farmers,the state government has slashed its target of procurement to half. The revised target is now 30 lakh MT instead of 60 lakh MT as originally fixed.

The wheat purchase season began on April 1 and ends on June 30. As many as 6,000 purchase centres were opened. The Food and Civil Supplies Department had decided that 15 lakh MT wheat would be purchased in April,30 lakh MT in May and 15 lakh MT in June. Until Tuesday,the state government had procured only 6.6 lakh MT.

“We understand that it is hard to achieve the wheat procurement target. It has been revised keeping in view the prevailing situation,” said Rajendra Choudhary,Minister for Food and Civil Supplies.

He said that the poor wheat procurement is due to the higher rate of wheat in the open market than the minimum support price. “We are keeping a watch on the market rate. We are at least successful in preventing any distress sale by farmers,” Choudhary said.

The state government is offering minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,350 per quintal. The rate of wheat in the mandi at Hapur was Rs 1,495 per quintal and lowest was at Rs 1350 per quintal at Banda,Fatehpur and several other districts on Wednesday.

“We recorded the lowest rate of Rs 1,270 per quintal a few days back,but it rose quickly later,” Sugriv Shukla,an official of UP Mandi Parishad,said.

The state government is also not offering any bonus on wheat purchase like other states. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are offering Rs 150 per quintal as bonus. “We do not have plans to provide bonus to wheat farmers. We are,however,concerned that the farmers get the best rates,” Choudhary said.

The low wheat procurement had an adverse effect on the supply of wheat in the Public Distribution System. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has already placed orders with Punjab. Nearly 3 lakh MT wheat will be coming to the state every month to meet the requirement of PDS.

FCI purchases wheat from the state government,which is then redistributed for various PDS schemes in the state. This wheat is supplied at Rs 2 per kg to Antyodyay card holders,Rs 4.65 per kg to BPL card holders and Rs 6.60 per kg to APL card holders. The annual requirement of wheat for PDS is nearly 48 lakh MT in UP.

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