Food ministry seeks wheat sample from Punjab for export
The Union food ministry has sought samples of wheat, which would be exported, from Punjab following a high-level panel's recommendation for exporting 2 million tonnes of the grain, a senior FCI official said today.chandigarh Updated: May 19, 2012 22:29 IST
The Union food ministry has sought samples of wheat, which would be exported, from Punjab following a high-level panel's recommendation for exporting 2 million tonnes of the grain, a senior FCI official said on Saturday.
"We have been asked by the Union food ministry to send sample of wheat collected from Punjab in order to make sure that the crop exported from here is free of Karnal bunt disease," the official told PTI.
Karnal Bunt is a fungal disease and it turns some part of wheat grain blackish and brittle. However, there has been no incident of Karnal Bunt disease attack on wheat crop reported from Punjab.
The Food Corporation of India office of Punjab has been asked to send sample by as early as May 22.
An expert group headed by PMEAC chairman C Rangarajan has suggested the Centre to immediately export 2 million tonnes of wheat from government stocks.
An inter-ministerial panel comprising agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, food minister KV Thomas and commerce minister Anand Sharma on May 18 even discussed ways to implement panel's suggestions including wheat export to ease pressure on storage during the monsoon season.
Significantly, Punjab will be taking maximum benefit with wheat export as state's godowns and warehouses are brimming with food grains, including wheat and rice, and as a result of it, procurement agencies are being forced to store crop in unscientific way.
The Punjab government has been demanding from the Centre to allow wheat export from the state so as to fetch remunerative price for farmers.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal asked the Centre on Saturday to allow export of wheat from the state.
Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had demanded wheat export to Pakistan and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) through newly built integrated check post (ICP) at Attari near Amritsar.
The problems of Punjab have been aggravated this season because of all- time high procurement of crop this year which has reached 126 lakh tonnes mark on the back of bumper output and now coming monsoon season is threatening to damage crop which has been stored in open.
About 30-35 lakh tonne of freshly harvested crop is expected to be stored in unscientific manner as state still faces shortage of 40-45 lakh tonne of food grain against the present capacity of 100.6 lakh tonne of covered space and 105 lakh tonne of Covered Area Plinth (CAP).