Government will start procurement of wheat in many states this week. In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, the state government will begin wheat procurement from 2nd April as the crop has matured in these three states. On the other hand, Punjab and Haryana will start purchase of wheat in the third week of April i.e. from 15 and 20 April, respectively.
In spite of a delayed start due to Covid-19 outbreak that forced the Central government to enforce a 21-day lockdown across the nation, the Food Corporation of India or FCI is hopeful of purchasing 35 million tonne of wheat this year, against 34.13 million tonne in2019, because of a bumper harvest. As per government estimates, production of wheat is estimated at 106.21 million tonne for 2019-20 crop year (July to June), up 2.5 percent from a year earlier.
Generally, the official procurement begins a few days before 1st April when normal Rabi marketing season starts, because the crop arrives early in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. This year also, the plan was to begin the purchase from around 22nd March in these two states. But it had been postponed after the announcement of lockdown.
Officials in Madhya Pradesh told that growers are not coming to grain mandis due to the fear of coronavirus and enforcement at local levels. They said after the relaxation issued by Central government last week, farmers can begin harvesting the crops and take it to the mandis & procurement centres,.
A state government official said from Bhopal said, “Though we are ready for the procurement, everything depends on how cultivators react as they are also following the government orders on social distancing & not coming out of their homes”.
Officials of State agriculture department have reached out to growers after the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) released an advisory on harvesting. ICAR’s DG, Dr Trilochan Mohapatra said that “The disease crisis has coincided with the harvesting season of rabi food crops like wheat, millets, pulses, oilseeds & other crops. We need to take precautions as we will be engaged in the harvesting of fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, eggs & fish”.
Uttar Pradesh is expected to begin procurement from 15th April after the lockdown, even though the state had announced earlier that the official purchase to commence from 1st April.
SOURCE: Krishi Jagran