“Several big states have expressed their desire to delay the annual wheat procurement
in the light of COVID-19 restrictions and a final decision on this is expected soon,” a senior government official said.
If procurement operations are allowed, he noted, mandis in north India could see a massive influx of farmers, labourers and other support staff, putting all of them at the risk of COVID-19. India’s annual procurement of wheat is 30-35 million tonnes (mt).
A delay in procurement would also mean farmers would need to hold the harvested crop at their own risk, exposing it to inclement weather. “In such a situation there should be some relaxation given in the quality parameters as well,” a farmer leader from Madhya Pradesh said.
India’s wheat crop was estimated at a record 106.21 mt in the second official Advance Estimate some months earlier.