As wheat procurement reaches 25.9 million tonnes (mt) as on May 15, the total purchases look to be between 26 mt and 27 mt this year. The drive to procure wheat in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh is scheduled to end within a month. There could be a surplus of about 8 mt against the annual demand under the food security law and other welfare schemes, potentially helping the government to make provision for market intervention.

Last week, Food Corporation of India Chairman Ashok K Meena said the procurement could be around 27 mt, whereas the government’s requirement is 18.4 mt, excluding buffer norms .

Wheat procurement in the ongoing season has surged 43.6 per cent to 25.9 mt as of May 15 in the ongoing season (April-June) against 18.04 mt a year ago, according to the latest official data. Official purchases in the country dropped to a 15-year low of 18.79 mt in 2022-23, prompting the government to ban exports that still continues.

Out of the 28.7 mt target from three States — 13.2 mt in Punjab, 8 mt in MP and 7.5 mt in Haryana — nearly 90 per cent has been achieved, so far.

Haryana buy ends

The procurement in Haryana ended on May 15 which reported at 6.29 mt against 4.07 mt a year ago, up by 54.5 per cent, whereas the target was to buy 7.5 mt. Out of total quantity purchased from the State, only 1,339 tonnes were of fair average quality (FAQ) while remaining are under relaxed specifications (URS).

Punjab has shown a 26 per cent increase in purchases at 12.05 mt as of May 15 from the year-ago level of 9.56 mt, while in Madhya Pradesh it is up by 67.8 per cent at 6.98 mt, from 4.16 mt.

Procurement in Uttar Pradesh, the largest wheat-producer, reported a 16.9 per cent fall at 0.19 mt from 0.24 mt, official data show. But Rajasthan has contributed 0.37 mt to the Central Pool stock so far, against only 758 tonnes in the year-ago period.

Of 1,35,632 tonnes bought for the Central Pool on May 15, as much as 98,840 tonnes were purchased from MP, where there is still hope of some increase in the procurement, officials said adding only 19,372 tonnes could be procured in Punjab on the same day. “Wheat prices everywhere are above MSP and farmers are even getting around the benchmark rate at their doorstep without botheration of bringing their grain to the market yard or procurement centre. Only those lower quality grain are available below ₹2,125/quintal (MSP),” an official said.