Bumper wheat crop likely despite unseasonal rains
Ministry of Food and Public Distribution has asked Finance Ministry for an additional demand of Rs20,000 crore for buying the extra wheat
Centre is also under pressure from wheat-producing states like Punjab and Haryana. Haryana Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala has already written to the Centre to relax the quality norms of wheat, so that farmers don’t suffer during Rabi Marketing Season 2023-24
New Delhi: Despite untimely rains and hailstorms having caused damage to the wheat crop, the central government expects a bumper crop. This is likely to increase the quantum of procurement. Consequently, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has asked the Ministry of Finance for an additional demand of Rs20,000 crore for the buying of the extra wheat, official sources told Bizz Buzz.
Interestingly, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had surrendered Rs12,500 crore in the last fortnight of 2022-23 on account of lower procurement in that fiscal.
The Ministry’s assessment of bumper harvesting season is despite the fact that Punjab reportedly suffered 20-30 per cent damage to the standing crops due to unseasonal rains and hailstorms. The Centre estimates that there will be improvement in the food grains productions.
The Centre is also seeking to replenish the public holding of food grains, which had depleted following attempts to combat food inflation, which remained in double digit due to high cereal prices.
It also anticipates that India will have to provide support to friendly countries with food grains, given that the extended Ukraine War is creating a shortage of wheat and other cereals in several parts of the world. Nepal in the neighbourhood is reeling under the shortage of wheat with flour prices shooting; India is expected to provide the additional quota.
India will also continue to provide humanitarian support to Afghanistan, which is battling famine after a prolonged season of extreme winter.
The Centre is also under pressure from wheat-producing states like Punjab and Haryana. Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala has already written to the Centre to relax the quality norms of wheat, so that farmers don’t suffer during Rabi Marketing Season 2023-24. The procurement of wheat started in Haryana from April 1.