Punjab tops in wheat and paddy contribution
The Food Corporation of India that completed the procurement process a fortnight ago has revealed that Punjab has topped the country in contributing foodgrain to the Central pool.
Of the three main crops of paddy, wheat and sugar that go to the Central pool from states, Punjab has topped in wheat and paddy contribution, while its share is insignificant in respect of sugar.
As on June 1, 2011, of the total foodgrain stock, 61.83 lakh metric tonne share is of rice and 0.09 lakh MT that of paddy, whereas the wheat stock is about 17.82 lakh MT. The contribution is highest among the states in the northern region. Uttarakhand has the total stock of 1.83 lakh MT, UP 37.28 lakh MT, Rajasthan 22.20 lakh MT, J&K 0.91 lakh MT, Himachal 0.12 lakh MT, Haryana 28.20 lakh MT and Delhi 2.01 lakh MT.
Punjab is also ahead among all the zones of the country, including east, north-east, south, west and north, in terms of foodgrain procurement.
The FCI has a capacity of 81.21% of the total storage area. It is presently utilising 94% of its storage capacity. In the covered area capacity, out of total 70.53%, the FCI owns 21.17% while 49.36% area is hired from the state government and its agencies. The Cover and Plinth (CAP), FCI owns 7.14% and hired capacity is 3.54%.
Talking about the highest wheat production in the country, DGM (storage) Aseem Chabbra said, "In the past, Punjab's contribution to national pool has been as high as 75%, but total amount of wheat procured this year is the highest."
In the drought year of 2007-08, when the overall production in the country fell drastically, Punjab still contributed 69 lakh MT of foodgrain, revealed an official of the FCI. The state has also about 2 lakh metric tonne more to the national buffer stock this time as compared to the last year.
This year, Punjab has also recorded the highest ever production of wheat at 164 lakh MT.
The FCI DGM (storage) said Punjab holds maximum foodgrain stock in the country and the bumper crop in the past two years has increased its share to the Central pool.
Agriculture economist RS Ghuman said total domestic consumption of rice in Punjab is only 15%, which is far less as compared to other states, hence it contributes maximum to the Central pool.
Other factors, including higher yield, increased cropping and irrigational facilities and less population, are working to the advantage to Punjab. Expressing his concern, Ghuman said that this phenomenon may promote the 'mono' crop system in Punjab, which is not good, keeping in mind the depleting water table.