Buoyed by robust procurement last year, the Uttar Pradesh government has upped its wheat procurement target for 2013-14 by over 40 per cent to six million tonnes (mt).
Compared to 4.2 mt target during the last rabi marketing season, the wheat procurement target would be 1.8 mt more this year. The procurement will start from April 1 to June 30.
Earlier, there were talks of even fixing the procurement target to 7.5 mt, but now the target has been revised.
The massive target would test both the effectiveness of the state procurement agencies and the storage capacity, which continues to be lacking in quality and space. Besides, the agencies would need sufficient funds for making payment to farmers in lieu of procurement.
State Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani had directed officials to prepare a comprehensive action plan for the higher procurement target, so that the farmers do not face any hurdles.
A total of 6,000 procurement centres would be set up, of which 5,000 would be set up by UP Cooperative Federation Limited (PCF) and the state cooperatives department alone.
Meanwhile, along with the 3.5 mt of PCF storage facility, action plan is being drawn up for additional 2.5 mt of warehousing facility to be facilitated by UP Rajya Bhandaran Nigam (1.5 MT), PCF (5,00,000 tonnes) and food and civil supplies department (5,00,000 tonnes).
A major portion of the rabi crop is retained by farmers for personal consumption, while remaining comes to market.
Last year, the wheat minimum support price (MSP) stood at Rs 1,285/quintal compared to Rs, 1,100/quintal and Rs 1,120 during 2010 and 2011 respectively.
UP is India’s leading wheat producer and last year, the total production was about 31.5 mt. The corresponding figures for 2010 and 2011 were 27.5 mt and 29 mt respectively.
Similarly, wheat acreage stood at 9.7 million hectare (mh) in 2012 vis-à-vis 9.6 mh in 2011.