Citing reports of higher wheat output this year, Food Corporation of India (FCI) on Wednesday said it expects to lift at least 135 tons of wheat in 2008-09, up by 23 lakh tons over the current fiscal.
"This year (2008-09), the wheat procurement from across the country by FCI is expected to be between 135 and 150 lakh tons of wheat which is quite high as compared to procurement done in earlier years," FCI Chairman and Managing Director Alok Sinha told reporters in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
He said, "The major factors behind increase in lifting would be higher MSP, good crop in Punjab, Haryana, Northern Rajasthan and Western Uttar Pradesh, and low interest of private buyers in buying the crop." FCI procured 92 lakh tons of wheat in 2006-07, followed by 112 lakh tons lifted in 2007-08.
With the procurement of 135 lakh tons of the crop, the wheat stock of the country would reach 188 lakh tons. "From April 1 this year, we will have a stock of 53 lakh tons of wheat and if we add the figure of expected lifting then it will reach 188 lakh tons," Sinha said.
From Punjab and Haryana alone, FCI expects to lift 85 lakh tons and 40 lakh tons of wheat respectively, he informed.
The agency predicts that the private buyers would not be aggressive this year for wheat buying due to stabilised domestic wheat prices.