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Government's wheat procurement has gone up by 13.74 per cent to 119 lakh tonnes (LT) so far in the 2017-18 marketing year on higher purchases from Punjab and Haryana.
Although wheat marketing year runs from April to March, the bulk of procurement is done in the first three months. Procurement commenced early this year, from March 15, in some states like Madhya Pradesh.
Food Corporation of India (FCI) as well as state agencies undertake procurement operation at the minimum support price (MSP). They have set a target to buy 330 LT wheat this year as against 229.6 LT in 2016-17.
"Wheat procurement will pick up pace in the coming weeks. So far, about 119.07 lakh tonnes of wheat has been purchased as against 104.68 lakh tonnes in the same period last year," a senior FCI official told PTI.
Much of the procurement has been done from Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. It is yet to pick up in Gujarat and Rajasthan, he added.
As per the FCI data, wheat procurement in Haryana has increased to 47.16 LT so far this year, as against 44.56 LT in the year-ago period.
Similarly, the procurement in Punjab has gone up to 37.42 LT from 30.81 LT, while in Madhya Pradesh it rose to 30.55 LT from 28.29 LT.
About 2.31 LT wheat has been purchased from Rajasthan, 1.56 LT from Uttar Pradesh and 2,000 tonnes from Gujarat, the data said.
Of the wheat procurement target for 2017-18, Punjab aims to procure maximum wheat at 115 LT, followed by Madhya Pradesh 85 LT, Haryana at 75 LT, Uttar Pradesh - 30 LT and Rajasthan - 17 LT.
Higher wheat procurement target has been kept keeping in view of expected record output on the back of good monsoon.
Wheat production target is kept at a record 96.50 million tonnes for 2016-17 crop year, much higher than the actual output of 93.50 million tonnes last year.