The wheat procurement during the 2024-25 season that normally ends in three months (April-June) has surpassed last year’s total of 26.2 million tonnes (mt) mainly due to robust purchases made in Punjab and Haryana, which also are the hotbed of farmer protests in the last few years.

The Centre has already procured 26.25 mt of wheat, benefiting 2.23 million farmers who have been paid ₹59,715 crore, as the government buys the grain at the minimum support price, which is currently fixed at ₹2,275/quintal. However, farmers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have received ₹2,400/quintal for selling their wheat to the government, since both the States pay a bonus of ₹125/quintal over and above the MSP.

The procurement in Punjab has reached 12.43 mt, in Haryana 7.15 mt, in Madhya Pradesh 4.78 mt, in Rajasthan nearly 1 mt and in Uttar Pradesh 0.9 mt, the Food Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Depending on the arrival of the crop, the Centre at times advances the procurement from March in some States. This year, the government has estimated the procurement to be 37.29 mt, though officials were hopeful of purchasing about 32 mt.

“Even Punjab was hopeful of 13.5 mt wheat procurement, exceeding its target of 13 mt due to better yield this year. However, as arrivals decline the State may not reach the target. Still, despite all criticism against farmers of Punjab and Haryana in last few years by a section, they have rescued the Centre this year, otherwise India might have to import to meet food security,” said farmer leader Abhimanyu Kohar. He also suggested that procurement infrastructure in other States should be built like Punjab and Haryana so that farmers there can get the benefit of MSP.

The Food Ministry also said that rice procurement is progressing smoothly and it has reached 48.92 mt, benefitting 9.83 million farmers and the government has transferred around ₹1,60,472 crore to the bank accounts of the growers for purchasing their produce.

Meanwhile, the combined stock of wheat and rice in the central pool exceeds 60 mt, which is enough to meet the government’s foodgrain requirements under the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana and other welfare schemes, as well as for market interventions.