With wheat arrivals negligible ingrain markets, wheat rates in the spot market have risen sharply in the past 10-15 days to Rs 1,550 per quintal in Punjab and Haryana due to expectations of low production.
"Wheat prices have surged in last 10-15 days as the arrivals this year have been lower because of possibility of low production in Punjab and Haryana...prices have reached Rs 1,550 per quintal against Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 1,350 per quintal," traders said today.
Traders further said there was no availability of wheat in the grain markets which had pushed up the prices of the crop.
"Wheat arrivals have almost diminished in Punjab and Haryana, while the demand for crop is still there because of its export allowed by the Centre," Punjab Roller Flour Millers President Naresh Ghai told PTI.
Though traders refused to accept that farmers had hoarded the crop, there had been some reports from Punjab that wheat growers held back their crop in the hope of getting better rates from export.
"There has not been any availability of wheat in the market as bulk has been bought by the procurement agencies," he said.
The Centre had allowed export of 5 million tonnes of wheat from its godowns via private trade in order to evacuate old stock in "overflowing" warehouses.
Against the target of procuring 140 lakh tonnes for central pool for current rabi marketing season, the actual purchase for central pool is likely to remain 109 lakh tonnes in Punjab.
Similarly, in Haryana, the procurement is expected not to cross 59 lakh tonne mark for central pool -- much lower than the target of 87.30 lakh tonne.
Last year, the procurement remained high because of record wheat production attained by Punjab and Haryana at 179.82 lakh tonne and 130.69 lakh tonne respectively.
Wheat crop in Punjab and Haryana were hit at fag-end of the maturity stage in March this year due to untimely rain accompanied by hailstorm, which impacted the crop.
Punjab and Haryana, which contribute almost 80 per cent of wheat to Central pool, have projected wheat output of 161 lakh tonnes and 124 lakh tonnes respectively for 2013-14 season.
"The Centre is not ready to accept the fact that there would be a fall in wheat output this year. Country's wheat output this year will remain 82-83 million tonnes against the target of 93 million tonnes," traders said.
Karnal-based Directorate of Wheat Research had also said wheat production in Punjab and Haryana would be less this year because of inclement weather conditions prevailing during the crop maturity stage.