Farmers hold back wheat in hope of better price | india | Hindustan Times
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Farmers hold back wheat in hope of better price

WHEAT PROCUREMENT by Government agencies this year is abysmally low in Madhya Pradesh but neither farmer nor the Government is complaining. In fact, both view it as a happy augury for the farm sector in the State.

india Updated: May 04, 2006 01:23 IST

WHEAT PROCUREMENT by Government agencies this year is abysmally low in Madhya Pradesh but neither farmer nor the Government is complaining. In fact, both view it as a happy augury for the farm sector in the State.

Until today, the State Government’s procurement agency M P State Civil Supplies Corporation (MPSCSC) has procured about 15,000 quintals wheat against over 3-lakh tons last year.

The ongoing procurement this year is lowest since 1996-97 level of 4448.10 tons. But there is a fundamental difference. In 1996-97 wheat procurement was badly hit due to low production. Natural calamities like drought and excess rains had extensively destroyed the crops.

This year the low procurement is attributable to mainly two factors; the bulk buying of wheat by multinationals and farmers’ stocking crop in the hope of higher price.

Madhya Pradesh State Civil Supplies Corporation Managing Director, G K Shrivastava has termed it a good sign. He told Hindustan Times there were many factors behind almost zero procurement by the Corporation.

Not only were multinational companies offering good price on wheat, farmers had became aware about market forces and hold their stock for more lucrative price in coming months, he added.

The State Government fixed minimum support price (MSP) at Rs 650 for wheat. When the price failed to attract the farmers, a bonus of Rs 50 was announced on April 21 last by the Union Government. Even then the market price of wheat is way above the MSP, hovering around Rs 1,000 per quintal.

Small wonder then that the procurement centres of the Government are virtually deserted.  Trade sources said the Rs 50 bonus announcement on MSP came a bit too late. It also angered the farmers.

Before the announcement, a good number of farmers had already sold wheat to private agencies at Rs 680 to Rs 700 per quintal. They now feel cheated, as only those who supplied to Government agencies are eligible to get Rs 700 per quintal, inclusive of the Rs 50 bonus.

A fair number of farmers who have capacity to stock their yield are still doing so in the hope of the price going up further.