Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh to begin early wheat procurement from March 20, other states may follow suit

Government sources have indicated that the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are slated to begin wheat procurement from 20th March, with many other states too planning to begin procurement as early as in mid-March, based on wherever the wheat crop is ripe for harvest.

The Union Government is conducting a meeting with all states today to assess the current situation on food stocks. The government is likely to ask states to give a status update on wheat stocks and procurement.

With the IMD predicting higher-than-normal temperatures for the next three months, states will be asked to assess the preparedness of warehouses for grain storage ahead of summers.

While no adverse effects of heat have been reported so far on the Rabi crop, the government is open to the idea of deploying more millets for food security as well as asking states to do so in case the wheat crop gets affected.

Weather conditions in the next couple of months are going to decide the availability of wheat not just for the domestic market, but also the fate of the ban on the export of wheat which had government had imposed last year.

The government is also likely to ask states to prepare a strategy to improve deployment of millets.

Speaking at a conference with state food ministers, Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said that 23.4 LMT wheat has been offloaded in the 4th tranche of e-auction conducted by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) today in a bid to keep wheat prices in check.

Praising states for smooth implementation of food security measures, he said that the government will soon decide procurement targets for wheat and rice crops.

Pointing to the recent move of millets procured from Karnataka being supplied to Kerala, he added that states were free to procure and distribute millets via their networks and rely on FCI to distribute the surplus in other states.

Projecting a procurement of 6 to 7 lakh tonnes of millets under the Shree Ann scheme, he said that the supply of fortified rice will cover the entire nation in the next 6 to 8 months to combat the incidence of anaemia.

This article has been republished from Cnbctv18.