FCI sells 3.4 MT wheat in open market, flour millers say atta prices have fallen by Rs 6-8/kg
By Dipak K Dash
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has sold around 3.4 million tonnes (MTs) of wheat in the open market, which has brought down the wheat and atta (wheat flour) prices in the past six weeks as availability of the foodgrain has improved. Corroborating this, Roller Flour Millers’ Federation of India (RFMFI) on Thursday said the ex-mill atta prices have come down by Rs 6-8 per kg in the last two months after the government released the foodgrain from its strategic stock.
The association also said they have engaged an expert entity for carrying out a survey across nine major wheat producing states to estimate the production this year. Its president Pramod Kumar S said the survey has estimated the wheat production around 108-110 MTs in 2022-23 crop year. He said this would come as a big relief to the government and their industry as well.
The federation urged the government to continue the ban on export of wheat and wheat products, including atta (wheat flour), maida (fine wheat flour) and suji (semolina) during the 2023-24 financial year since there is hardly any stock left with domestic players. Last year the wheat export was high because of the Russia-Ukraine war, which had also impacted the lowest ever procurement by the government in the last 13 years.
On the government’s move to offload wheat in open market through e-auction since February 1, senior vice-president of the federation, Navneet Chitlangia said, “Presently, the rate of wheat has come down to Rs 23-24 per kg in the wholesale market in states where in the wheat from central pool has been offloaded as per demand, whereas the prices are Rs 24-25 a kg in states where in the process of offloading is going on. Had it not been for the timely intervention of the government, the prices would have reached to Rs 40-45 per kg.”
According to the millers, ex-mill atta prices are currently hovering around Rs 2,600-3,000 per quintal compared to Rs 3,400-Rs 3,800 per quintal in mid January. They said due to the lesser domestic availability of wheat in the market, domestic prices went up to Rs 3,200-3,600 a quintal in January before the government announced offloading of 50 lakh tonnes of wheat in the open market to arrest the rising prices.
Chitlangia said the impact of this would be visible when the government releases inflation data for March.
This article has been republished from The Times of India