Wheat production in MP has almost doubled from last year. It is a consuming state and high output there means a lesser need to import from these northern states, otherwise known as the country’s wheat bowl. Punjab and Haryana already had a storage constraint for grain stocks; with the plethora of wheat arriving in the market, the authorities concerned in these states have a lot on their hands.
According to senior government functionaries, the huge quantities of opening stock, coupled with unprecedented arrivals this year, pose a big challenge for storage in good condition. Government officials are busy arranging rice and sugar godowns, depots and diverse other storage locations. Rice shelters are available, till October, when paddy procurement will begin; paddy cannot be stored in the open.
As on April 1, Punjab had an opening stock of 6.5 million tonnes (mt) and Haryana 4.5 mt. MP’s opening stock on April 1 was 700,000 tonnes. Its own consumption is about three mt a year.
Quantity of wheat procured and consumed by states (in million tonnes)
On the other hand, Punjab’s own need for public distribution is only 900,000 tonnes and Haryana’s 500,000 tonnes. Punjab has already procured 12.5 mt of wheat procurement, as compared to 11 mt last year. Haryana has crossed 8.5 mt, compared to 6.9 mt last year. MP has procured 6.5 mt, as compared to 4.9 mt last year. Uttar Pradesh, too, has done better, having crossed four mt, compared to 3.2 mt last year.
So, officials in the surplus states are getting nervous. Punjab has a covered storage capacity of 10.5 mt and Haryana of 5.3 mt. Another 9.9 mt in Punjab and five mt in Haryana is storage in open plinth. Without timely utilisation, this will spoil.