The Government on Wednesday said the stock position of wheat and rice is at comfortable levels. The level will be above the buffer stock limits in April. However, wholesale prices of wheat and rice are marginally higher this month compared with last month.
Speaking to media persons, Union Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said about 201 lakh tonnes (lt) of wheat and 140 lt of rice are available in the Central pool as of November 15. The projected stock position of wheat on April 1, 2023, is 113 lt against the buffer norms of 75 lt . In the case of rice, the stock position is projected at 237 lt ( on April 1) against a buffer norm of 136 lt.
Even after meeting additional allocation of the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes requirements, sufficient stocks will be available under the Central Pool over and above the buffer norms, the Ministry said.
Chopra said about 277.37 lt of paddy has been procured till November 21 (during the kharif marketing season (KMS) 2022-23) — about 14 lt more than the same period a year ago. The procurement target for the Kharif crop of current KMS 2022-23, is about 775.73 lt of paddy, the Ministry said.
Responding to a query on price trends of wheat, Chopra said, “Wheat prices have gone up by 7 per cent in retail outlets after the imposition of the wheat export regulation in May and if one factors in the Minimum Support price (MSP), the price rise is estimated at about 4-5 per cent.”
On May 13, the Government banned exports of wheat to boost domestic supplies and control prices followed by curbs on rice exports, including a ban on shipments of broken and 20 per cent export duty on white rice in September.
On whether the Ministry was considering any additional steps such as stockholding limits and the open market sale scheme (OMSS) to check the rise in wheat prices, Chopra said: “The position right now does not warrant any kind of action other than the measures already taken. We are watching the situation and if we see any abnormal rise in prices, obviously we will step in with measures at our command. ” He said the inter-ministerial committee monitors the prices of essential commodities on a weekly basis.
Officials said the retail prices of edible oils have been on a downward trend and further softening of prices is expected.