The Centre also asked roller flour millers to directly procure from farmers to meet their requirements instead of seeking stock from state-owned FCI under Open Market Sale Scheme.
The government also ruled out the industry’s demand to lift the ban on the export of wheat products considering the bumper output.
Releasing a private wheat crop estimate at an event organised by the Roller Flour Millers’ Federation of India, Subodh Kumar Singh, Additional Secretary in the Food Ministry said there was a difference in wheat production projected by the government and industry last year.
However this year, there are some commonalities in crop estimates. The first common thing is that there is 3-5 per cent increase in wheat acreage, the second is production loss due to untimely rains and hailstorms would be about 1-2 million tonnes and third, there would be an additional 5-5.5 million tonne production over the last year, he said.
“The production would be 5-5.5 million tonnes higher than the last year’s government estimate,” he said.
This means the overall wheat production would be touching the record 112.2 million tonne set for 2022-23 crop year (July-June) and even surpass this level. AgriWatch had initially projected wheat output at 104.24 million tonne for 2022-23, as against 97.7 million tonnes in the previous year. However, it revised the estimate downward to 102.9 million tonnes factoring in the crop loss due to untimely rains.
In 2021-22 crop year (July-June), wheat production had declined by 1.84 million tonnes to 107.74 million tonnes due to heat waves in some parts of the growing states. Consequently, the government’s procurement had dropped to 19 million tonnes, as per the government data.
The Additional Secretary further said the surveys are important as commodity prices have gone up across the world. The production varies and estimates are important to take a policy decision on export and OMSS.
He said there is going to be a significant increase in production and the availability will be better than last year.
Stating that there is quality loss due to recent rains, the Additional Secretary said the government has taken a timely decision to relax norms for procurement for Madhya Pradesh where grain with lustre loss is being purchased at MSP.
“We hope the government procurement will be better this year. We will have sufficient supply of stock to meet the PDS and market intervention,” he said.
Meanwhile, domestic prices of wheat and wheat products like atta at present have declined on account of the export ban and sale of grain at discounted rates to bulk consumers via the open market sale scheme (OMSS), he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Food Corporation of India Chairman and Managing Director Ashok K Meena said about 7 lakh tonnes of wheat has been procured so far, higher than 2 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period.
“We are hopeful that a target of 342 lakh tonne of procurement will be achieved this year,” he said.
Wheat stock with FCI stood at 8.4 lakh tonne as on April 1 after taking into account the wheat sale under the OMSS, he said adding that the country has enough wheat to meet the food security demand and market intervention.
On the occasion, the Federation’s President Pramod Kumar requested the government to reconsider lifting the ban on the export of wheat products after the government’s procurement.
The government has banned wheat exports since May 22 in order to arrest the rise in domestic prices.