Agri Business

Food Corporation wheat stocks lower than last year

M.R. Subramani Chennai | Updated on March 12, 2018

FCI godown at Chennai.(file photo)


Foodgrain stocks with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) that is used for various welfare programmes and during food emergency, as on April 1, were higher than the norms set by the Government, as witnessed last year. But wheat stocks are lower than last year's.

According to the FCI, foodgrain stocks were 44.31 million tonnes against the buffer norms and strategic reserve requirement of 21.2 mt. During the same time last year, the stocks were 43.30 mt.

The stocks are higher mainly in view of higher rice holdings with the State-owned agency. Rice stocks on April 1 were 28.82 mt against 26.71 mt a year ago. The buffer norm for rice as on April 1 is 12.2 mt, while strategic reserve requirement is 2 mt.

Inventories are higher mainly in view of higher procurement this year. Till April 1, the FCI procured 28.18 mt paddy which is 24.82 mt in terms of rice. During the same time a year ago, the purchase was 27.76 mt paddy.

Paddy arrivals this year till April 1 have been pegged at 39.58 mt against 39.63 mt a year ago.

On the other hand, wheat stocks, as on April 1, was 15.36 mt against 16.13 mt a year ago. This is still more than the requirement of 4 mt to meet buffer norm and 3 mt as strategic reserve.

Wheat is a rabi crop and its arrival begins in April. Till now, procurement is 76 per cent lower than last year at 0.98 mt mainly in view of arrivals being delayed to rain in growing areas of Haryana and Punjab.

Last year, wheat procurement by the FCI and other State-owned agencies was 22.51 mt against 25.38 mt the previous year. This year, the Government hopes to procure over 26 mt.

The FCI procurement made up 15.19 per cent of the total purchases against 18.86 per cent the previous year.

With wheat stocks being lower than last year and fears of adverse weather affecting yield, a section of the trade saysthe Centre should not rush its decision of lifting the ban on wheat exports.

According to sources, exports when stocks are low could lead to surge in prices, making it difficult for end-users here.

Globally, demand for wheat is seen higher as corn prices have surged to a record. Higher corn prices mean wheat could be in demand as cattle feed too.

While the US winter wheat crop is seen in a worse shape than a week ago, the Chinese wheat crop has been affected by drought. Supplies have been further tightened by Russia's decision to extend export ban.

On Tuesday, wheat prices in the global market fell on hopes that India will lift the ban on wheat exports that has been in force since 2007.

On Monday, Citigroup Inc said India would lift the ban on wheat exports following a record crop. In its third advance estimate last week, the Agriculture Ministry projected a record wheat crop of 84.27 mt against 80.68 mt a year ago.

Published on April 12, 2011

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