Food Corporation of India (FCI) has sold only 170 tonnes or 0.04 per cent of 3.86 lakh tonnes (lt) of rice offered in the first auction under the open market sale scheme (OMSS). On the other hand, 32 per cent offtake has been reported in the case of wheat in the second round, up from 21 per cent in the first round.

The average selling price of wheat in the auction was ₹2,137.33 per quintal, against a reserve price of ₹2,125/ quintal for the URS variety and ₹2,150/quintal for the FAQ variety. There were 1,337 successful bidders, sources said. The pan-India average selling price was ₹2,136/quintal in the first round.

Rice was sold at an average ₹3,175.35/ quintal, higher than its reserve price of ₹3,100/quintal.

Karnataka’s Shri Gouri Shankar Trading Company purchased 40 tonnes of rice at ₹3,183/quintal, whereas four other buyers got it at ₹3,173/quintal. Gujarat’s Shree Padmavati Rice Pulse and Oil Mills and Maharashtra’s Akshay Agro Sales Corporation have bought 50 tonnes each.

Sadguru Trading Company, also from Maharashtra, has bought 20 tonnes and Meghalaya’s Bothra Trading Company 10 tonnes, the sources said.

“The rice that FCI has offered under OMSS is available at around ₹2,600/ quintal, which is much below the reserve price. The recycled rice from the public distribution system is sold at lower rates compared to “normal” varieties,” a rice miller in Punjab said. Asked why there were no takers in Punjab for FCI rice, as a maximum of 1.5 lt was offered in the state, he said there was no demand in Punjab as it could not be sold elsewhere.

On wheat offtake, a miller in Madhya Pradesh said most buyers are re-selling their grain to big buyers at marginally lower than market rates since the FCI’s offer is the cheapest. Most buyers are bidding around the reserve price, as they know there is no competition due to the government’s cap of 100 tonnes.

“If the government wants prices to cool down, the maximum quantity should be raised to 500 tonnes from one depot, and one entity should be allowed to buy from at least five-six places. It will create competition, as well as higher lifting, that will result in increased availability,” said the roller flour miller from MP.