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Nation’s top wheat contributor tag: How Madhya Pradesh stole Punjab’s crown

The Indian Express explains how MP managed to beat Punjab in procurement despite this huge gap in per hectare productivity.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Updated: June 25, 2020 2:14:17 pm
wheat, wheat production, wheat procurement, punjab wheat farmers, madhya pradesh wheat A labourer extracts wheat from the stubble remains after harvesting, at the filed in Ludhiana. (Express Photo: Gurmeet Singh)

Although Punjab stayed the undisputed leader in wheat procurement for the national pool till 2019, Madhya Pradesh (MP) this year surpassed Punjab to become the number one contributor of wheat. Punjab, however, is still a way ahead from MP as far as per hectare productivity of wheat is concerned, which is around 52 per cent more (per hectare) than MP. The Indian Express explains how MP managed to beat Punjab in procurement despite this huge gap in per hectare productivity.

What is the area under wheat cultivation in Punjab and MP?

Punjab’s area under wheat cultivation has remained close to 35 lakh hectares (LH) every year since over the last decade. While the area under wheat was 34.90 LH last year in Punjab, it was 35.05 LH this year.

Meanwhile, MP’s area under wheat has successively grown each year — doubling from 41 LH in 2007-08 to around 77.22 LH in 2018-19. According to the office of the Director of Department of Agriculture Madhya Pradesh, there was a huge jump in wheat area in MP in 2019-20 Rabi season when it increased by 25 LH and reached to over 102 LH (10.02 million hectares). According to the state’s Agriculture Department, an increase of 32.4 per cent in the wheat area was witnessed in MP in just one year. This Rabi season, MP’s area was around 67.23 LH (191.7 per cent) more than Punjab.

How do both states fare in terms of area under wheat cultivation?

This year wheat was sown on 330.2 LH across the country against 296.98 LH last year. This Rabi season also saw the highest ever area was sown under wheat since Independence.

Of the total wheat area in the country, MP’s share was 31 per cent, while Punjab cultivated wheat on 10.6 per cent of the total national area. Thereafter, MP contributed 129.28 lakh tonnes (LT), which is 33.83 per cent of the total wheat procurement by the Centre till June 16, while Punjab has contributed 127.12 LT, which is 33.27 per cent to the national pool. The Centre has procured 382.05 lakh tonnes till June 16.

However, despite around three times (192 per cent) more area under wheat compared to Punjab this year, MP’s contribution is only 1.67 per cent more than Punjab.

What is per hectare yield in both states?

According to the Agriculture Department Punjab, the average yield per hectares was recorded at 50.08 quintals (20.275 quintals per acre). Due to untimely rains in Punjab, productivity was low this year compared to previous years when Punjab had recorded 51 quintals and 51.88 quintals per hectares in 2019 and 2018, respectively. “The productivity in MP has increased and it was recorded 32.98 quintals per hectares (13.35 quintals per acre) against 32.73 quintals hectare last year,“ informed Sanjeev Singh, Director, the department of agriculture MP. Punjab records 52 per cent more yield per hectare than MP.

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What is the total wheat production in both the states?

Apart from contributing to the national pool, every state keeps the crop for self-consumption or selling to the local wheat flour mills or processing industry. This year Punjab’s total wheat production was recorded 175.67 LT (17.5 million tonnes) till May 31 against 178 LT (17.8 MT) last year and 182.62 LT (18.2 MT) in 2018.

Out of 175.67 LT, Punjab’s farmers brought only 127.62 LT (72.6%) to the mandis of which 127.12 LT has been procured by the government agencies for the central pool and remaining was purchased by the private players. Nearly, 48 LT has been kept by the farmers of the state with them.

“In MP the total wheat production this year would be around 336 LT as per the average yield per hectares recorded in the state out of which states’ farmers have sold only 39 per cent of the total production to the Centre till June 16 and out of remaining they may sell some more to government as procurement in MP will end on June 31,” said a senior Agriculture officer in MP, adding that the remaining 200 LT would be kept for state’s consumption, and selling to the private players. Last year state had contributed to the central pool only 73.69 LT, while remaining around 179 LT was used for self- consumption and sold to private players.

Wheat procurement ended in Punjab on May 31.

“If we compare the total production of both the states, MP’s production is 92 per cent more than Punjab but their area under wheat too is 192 per cent more than Punjab. MP’s productivity, however, is quite low,” said a senior officer in Punjab Agriculutre Department.

How many farmers registered on the government’s procurement portal in both states this year?

In Punjab, almost every wheat producer — there are 12-13 lakh — sells his produce to the government agencies after keeping some produce for self-consumption or selling to some private players. But in MP, large number of private players enter the market because MP’s wheat is considered to be very good in quality. These private players either pick the wheat from farmers’ fields or from mandis, but this time due to Covid-19 fear around 81 per cent of farmers (there is total over 10 million farmers in MP as per the record provided by the Department of Agriculture, MP) came to sell a major portion of their crop to the government agencies this year against 48 per cent of farmers last year, said a senior Food and Civil Supply Department officer in MP. Due to Covid-19 outbreak, few private players entered mandis to purchase wheat.

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