Food Secretary Shudhanshu Pandey said on Thursday that wheat procurement has gained pace in the ongoing Rabi Marting Season (RMS) 2021-22 with the government agencies procuring 64.7 LMT of wheat worth Rs 12,800 crore at MSP (Minimum Support Price) of Rs 1,975 per quintal, against an estimated target of 427 LMT this year.
Speaking to media persons virtually, Pandey said that the government of India is committed to purchase wheat at MSP and ensure that payments are made directly into the accounts of the farmers.
He said that from the current RMS 2021-22 onwards, transfer of MSP will take place through the DBT mode across India.
Briefing about the wheat procurement in Punjab, he informed that 10.6 LMT has been procured as on April 14.
In Punjab, wheat procurement started from April 10, and the agencies have bought 10.56 lakh tonnes of wheat in only five days.
Procurement in Punjab is in full swing and on April 14, there was an arrival of 5.57 LMT wheat in the mandis, which is likely to speed up in the coming days.
Pandey said that there is no stakeholder interest clash or encroachment in Punjab. Arhtiyas are receiving their commission separately through the e-mode of payment. Earlier, the MSP was going to the farmers via the Arhtiyas, but now it is being directly transferred to the farmers online.
As per the data available with the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the government agencies in Haryana have procured over 30 lakh tonnes of wheat as on April 14, while 20.63 lakh tonnes of wheat has been bought directly from the farmers in Madhya Pradesh.
Over 1.83 lakh tonnes of wheat was procured in Uttar Pradesh till April 14.
Responding to a question about storage conditions of godowns, he said it is an incorrect perception that due to the poor condition of godowns, food grain stocks get ruined.
In 2019 and 2020, the damage was 0.006 percent and 0.004 percent of the total storage, he added.
“To improve the storage infrastructure in India and increase storage capacity by 100 LMT, we are launching a storage modernization plan. By 2024-25, we will store our stocks in modern silos and phase out the conventional godowns, Pandey said.
On proposals for maize procurement in Bihar, the secretary said that the existing policy of the government of India is to ask for quotes from the states and accordingly the MSP is announced. So, the state governments can procure the required quantity of maize according to their needs, he said.
Additionally, as a result of the government permitting ethanol production, Bihar has announced a policy on this which will increase the demand for maize crop in the state.