Punjab’s wheat share in the central pool is likely to fall short of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) target of 12 million tonnes if adverse weather conditions continue, say Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) experts.
The FCI has fixed this year’s wheat procurement target at 30 million tonnes and it expects Punjab to contribute 12 million tonnes. Haryana is likely to contribute 7 million tonnes of wheat in the central pool, Madhya Pradesh 6 million tonnes, Rajasthan 3 million tonnes and Uttar Pradesh 1.8 million tonnes.
However, the Punjab government’s recent survey of wheat crop damage due to inclement weather reveals that 7 lakh acres of area under wheat cultivation has already been affected.
In Punjab, harvesting and procurement of wheat will begin on April 1. Farmers are hoping of sunny days ahead to save their crop from further damage.
“If rain and strong winds continue, the yield will drop and this will affect the state’s contribution to the central pool,” said a group of farmers at the PAU.
It will be unfortunate for the state and farmers if the procurement target is not met. But the country has sufficient buffer stock of wheat, which is around 25 million tonnes. Thus, a balance can be maintained in the demand and supply cycle. However, low yield this year may affect next year’s buffer stock, say PAU experts.
They said the buffer stock is maintained each year to meet emergency demand. “The demand will be met through the buffer stock this year, but it may affect the stock for the next year which is vital to maintain to cater to any emergency. We hope the weather remains clear and the yield is good,” said MS Sidhu, a senior economist at the PAU.
GS Buttar, head of the PAU’s agronomy department, said sunny days are vital as the crop is in the last stage of maturity.
Country’s buffer stock
Year Stock (in million tonnes)
Estimated procurement target
India 30 million tonnes
Punjab 12 million tonnes
(Data as per FCI)
Did you know? As per the PAU data, 90,000 quintals of wheat is consumed in India every hour.