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Procurement period begins in Punjab, wheat yet to reach mandis

Procurement period begins in Punjab, wheat yet to reach mandis


Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, April 1

The wheat procurement season began today but not a single grain reached any mandi for procurement.

Prolonged winter a factor

  • Prolonged winter leading to late maturity of wheat
  • The recent spell of rain in the state has added moisture to the standing wheat crop
  • Until the crop dries up, it cannot be harvested

Will be ready next week

The government plans to procure 132 LMT of wheat. The area under wheat production this year is 35 lakh hectares and the government is looking at 161.31 LMT yield.

This is because of the prolonged winter leading to late maturity of wheat and the recent spell of rain that had added moisture to the standing wheat crop. Until the crop dries up, it cannot be harvested.

Enquiries made by The Tribune reveal that the crop will be ready for harvesting only by next week, if the weather remains favourable. The season will end within 15-25 days.

In Khanna, which is the largest grain market in Asia, no wheat arrived in mandis. Commission agents said they did not expect arrivals before next week.

This year, the government plans to procure 132 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of wheat. The area under wheat production this year is 35 lakh hectares and the government is looking at a wheat production of 161.31 LMT. The government has already received its first instalment of cash credit limit of Rs 27,077.91 crore to buy wheat.

Meanwhile, the political heat over the declaration of silos as open market yards seems to be going up with arhtiyas negotiating with the government to continue their commission even when farmers take wheat directly to silos.

Harbans Rosha, president, Arhtiya Association, Khanna, said the sale of all foodgrain should only be through them and they had asked for the government assurance.

Farm unions like the BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) have declared their opposition to the move. Beginning Tuesday, they will give warning letters to all AAP MLAs to declare “corporate silos” as mandis, which, they claim, is akin to handing over the foodgrain business to corporates.

The government had said the decision to declare these as open market yards has been taken only to convenience farmers. “The mandis in the vicinity of 11 silos will not be closed. The silos are meant only for storage of wheat and we have also attached these to mandis, so that wheat procured there can be transferred here for storage. The silos are declared as open market yards every year before procurement,” said Secretary, Food and Supply Vikas Garg.

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