Wheat grain analysis: Strict norms by FCI fail to match ground reality

Wheat grain analysis: Strict norms by FCI fail to match ground reality

Labourers clean grains at Bhagtanwala grain market in Amritsar. Photo: Vishal Kumar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 18

Stricter procurement norms like reducing the upper limit for presence of broken and shrivelled grains in wheat produce imposed by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) from the current season has started giving trouble to farmers as well as procurement agencies.

Farmers’ associations had earlier, too, protested against the new norms, which include reducing reduction of permissible moisture limit from 14 per cent to 12 per cent and reduction of limit for broken grains from 4 per cent to 2 per cent.

Sources in the Agriculture Department said a committee of the district heads of state procurement agencies — Pungrain, Markfed, Punsup, Punjab warehouse and central agency FCI, which was constituted to assess the quality parameters of wheat grains in market, has also recommended purchase under relaxed norms. The committee had collected samples from grain markets in Amritsar and Tarn Taran, which were later analysed

The grains were analysed for the parameters as lustre loss, damage, slightly damaged, shrivelled and broken grains.

The committee report (a copy with The Tribune) stated that lustre loss ranging from 2 to 5 per cent, slightly damage (due to rain and heavy winds) ranging from 4 to 5 per cent, shrivelled grains (caused by heavy rain causing water-logging in fields) from 4.5 per cent to 11 per cent were observed.

Sources said as 60 per cent of the wheat crop is expected to arrive in the markets during the next two weeks, the office of the Tarn Taran Deputy Commissioner has also written to the Department of Food and Civil Supplies about the situation, so that the issue could be taken up with Central government authorities.

A field officer of a procurement agency said: “If the norms are not relaxed, farmers will have to face harassment and value cut. Harvesting in the district will pick up pace in the coming days, which will cause inconvenience to the procurement agencies as well as farmers in case the norms are not relaxed.

Tarn Taran Deputy Commissioner writes to DFSC

Tarn Taran: Keeping in view acute problems in procuring wheat produce in the district, Deputy Commissioner Kulwant Singh had written a letter to the Director Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Punjab, to take up the matter with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) immediately. The DC in the letter said inspectors of different procurement agencies had brought the matter to the notice of the district procurement committee regarding the arrival of broken and shrivelled grain and the percentage of lustre loss. The DC office wrote a letter to Amritsar-based Assistant General Manager (AGM), FCI, to know the exact position. The FCI official in response to the letter said as wheat arrived in mandis, the percentage of lustre loss ranging from 2 per cent to 5 per cent had been observed in different lots. “Rain and heavy windstorm also affected the produce slightly from 4 er cent to 5 per cent,” said AIG FCI in the letter. The DC said as the arrival of the wheat crop coming to the grain markets was not up to the mark, the procurement work was being affected badly. The DC demanded to take the matter with the FCI officials at the Union-level seeking relaxation in the specifications for the smooth procurement of wheat crop. The Saturday rain and hailstorm worsened the situation and farmers’ organisations have started demanding relief for the loss to the crop due to rain. OC