According to reports of Food Corporation of India, the central agency which procures and distributes food grains, Haryana with procurement of 14.67 lakh tonnes lead the tally followed by Madhya Pradesh (11.92 lakh tonnes) and Uttar Pradesh (97,562 tonnes).
“The procurement in Punjab has just started. So far 68,963 tonnes have been purchased. The exercise is moving swiftly. This is for the first time farmers in Punjab will get payment directly in their accounts. Arhtiyas (middlemen) who had threatened to call strike against the government’s decision for direct benefit transfer (dbt) have suspended their agitation,” said a senior food ministry official.
According to food ministry, the status of procurement this season is exceptionally better than last year when the government could procure just 60 tonnes wheat during this period.
“Last year, the Covid-19 pandemic had taken its toll on procurement during initial period of lock down before the government decided to exempt farm activities. This year, state governments as well as farmers are well prepared to tackle the situation. The governments have made proper arrangements in mandis for smooth operations,” the official said.
This year centre has set a target of procuring 42.73 million tonnes of wheat with Madhya Pradesh to contribute the maximum 13.5 million tonnes followed by Punjab (13 million tonnes) and Haryana (8 million tonnes). Uttar Pradesh government has not fixed any target this year and has announced to continue purchasing till stocks last.
“The production of wheat is estimated to rise to a record 109.24 MT in 2020-21 from 107.86 MT in the previous year. We expect record purchase,” the official said.