Uttar Pradesh clocks 100% rise in wheat procurement at 3 million tonnes

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Wheat procurement by government agencies in Uttar Pradesh continues on a brisk pace with the state so far clocking 100 per cent increase in total purchases at about 3 million tonnes (MT) compared to the previous year.

Total wheat procurement in Uttar Pradesh had stood at around 1.6 MT during the same period in 2017. This year, the Yogi Adityanath government is targeting wheat procurement of 5 MT, which corresponds to almost 16 per cent of the country’s wheat procurement target of 32 MT set for the current rabi marketing season.

Last year, the state could procure only 50 per cent of its targeted 8 MT, although it was still 5 times of the net procurement of wheat in 2016 when it had stood at a lowly 800,000 tonnes under the Akhilesh Yadav dispensation.

The wheat procurement process had started on April 1 and would continue till June 15 even as 60 per cent of the target has already been achieved.

Earlier, Chief Minister Adityanath had issued strict directives to the state food department to ensure that a sufficient number of procurement centres were set up for the smooth procurement process. In his recent visit to Lucknow, Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had also reviewed the progress of wheat procurement and held a meeting with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) officials. To a query, he had claimed the temporary shortage of jute sacks for packaging wheat had been sorted out and it would not hamper prospective procurement.

In March 2018, the Adityanath government had approved the wheat purchase policy and announced Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 1,735 per quintal (100 kg), apart from an additional Rs 10 per quintal as transportation charges. The government has established about 5,000 procurement centres.

The previous year, a similar incentive was announced by the state government for encouraging farmers to sell at the procurement centres. The farmers are paid online within 72 hours of the purchase of wheat, while all centres have been linked online for transparency. 

So far, wheat has been obtained from over 531,000 farmers, who have been paid Rs 52 billion through Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), which is a real-time payment settlement system.

This year, Uttar Pradesh’s wheat production has been pegged at about 35 million tonnes (MT). Bulk of the production finds way to the local market or retained by farmers for private consumption. Higher MSP basically helps farmers get remunerative prices in the open market, apart from purchasing the food grain for distribution under the public distribution system (PDS).

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