Punjab readies for glut of wheat crop after slow start to procurement - Hindustan Times
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Punjab readies for glut of wheat crop after slow start to procurement

By, Chandigarh
Apr 16, 2024 06:44 AM IST

According to director agriculture Jaswant Singh, the wheat crop will be ready to be harvested across the state and mandis will witness arrivals at the same time leading to a glut-like situation

Fifteen days after the start of wheat procurement in the current rabi season, crop arrivals are still negligible. Monday’s 57,000 tonne produce took the total arrivals in the current season to 1.41 lakh tonne.

Farmers harvesting wheat crop near Bathinda, Punjab. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
Farmers harvesting wheat crop near Bathinda, Punjab. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

Today’s arrivals marked a three-fold rise from Sunday’s 16,000 tonne, but still does not compare to the 16.56 lakh tonne that came in on April 15 last year.

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Owing to the slow harvest this season, the state food department and state agricultural marketing board (Mandi board) officials have predicted a glut in the upcoming weeks. A top official of the state food department said, “The expectations are that the crop will ripen across the state in a week to 10 days and immediately with the harvest, farmers will bring produce to the mandis.”

According to director agriculture Jaswant Singh, the wheat crop will be ready to be harvested across the state and mandis will witness arrivals at the same time leading to a glut-like situation.

“We have made all arrangements to handle the glut, as the situation is expected to stay for about two to three weeks,” said a senior officer in the food and civil supplies department. The procurement will end on May 31.

The procurement began on April 1 and for the first 10, not a single grain arrived for procurement. The state food and civil supplies department has designated 1,907 mandis and 559 yards (total 2,466 procurement centres), but arrivals have been reported only in 1,285 mandis so far.

The food department has made preparations to procure 132 lakh tonne produce.

Notably, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and state agriculture department have predicted for the crop yield to be all time high. The total production is in fact expected to cross the highest ever yield of 182.58 lakh tonnes in 2018-19.

In the developing situation, the food and civil supplies department may have to rework the procurement targets, for which a fresh requisition may have to be made for the cash credit limit (CCL) sanctioned by the country’s central bank – Reserve Bank of India (RBI), for procurement of wheat. As of now the RBI has sanctioned a CCL of 27,077 crore to pay the crop price to the farmers fixed at a minimum support price (MSP) of 2,275 per quintal.

Ideal weather conditions with cold waves extending all the way to January and extended cool nights during the ripening stage in February March months when the day temperatures did not rise beyond 35° C, the agricultural experts have predicted more than a bumper crop.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Gurpreet Singh Nibber is an Assistant Editor with the Punjab bureau. He covers politics, agriculture, power sector, environment, Sikh religious affairs and the Punjabi diaspora.

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