India’s wheat procurement has crossed last year’s levels despite the country being under a nationwide lockdown for two months now. This year, wheat procurement has touched 341.56 lakh million tonnes till May 24 as government agencies procure wheat during Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) 2020-21. Last year, these figures stood at 341.31 million tonnes, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said on Monday, The Indian Express reported. However, Uttar Pradesh, which usually leads the pack in wheat production, has fallen behind this year and the Yogi Adityanath-led state did not contribute a substantial quantity to the central pool. This year, the procurement of wheat started from April 15 as the country was under a lockdown due to coronavirus.
The procurement so far amounts to about 75% of the government’s target for collecting 407 lakh million tonnes during RMS 2020-21. This year, Punjab has procured 125.84 lakh million tonnes of wheat which is about 93.21 per cent of its target of 135 lakh million tonnes — till May 24. Among three other major states, Madhya Pradesh has so far procured 113 lakh million tonnes wheat which is about 80 per cent of its revised target of 140 lakh million tonnes. The state had revised its target upward from 100 lakh million tonnes to 140 lakh million tonnes. In percentage terms, Haryana has procured slightly lower this year with the state collecting 70.65 lakh million tonnes or 74.37 per cent of its target of 95 lakh million tonnes.
While the procurement in Haryana started “little late” in April 2020, according to the Ministry’s statement, the pace of procurement has been much lower in Uttar Pradesh. UP has procured a quantity of just 20.66 lakh million tonnes or just 37 per cent of its target of 55 lakh million tonnes. In India, Food Corporation of India (FCI) and various state agencies procure wheat at minimum support price.