Bumper wheat crop causes godowns to overflow

May 9th, 2008 - 11:26 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) The bumper wheat crop this year has left the government godowns overflowing with 18 million tonnes of staple gain that the central and state agencies have procureed till Thursday, said the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution Friday. The latest wheat procurement figures of the department of food and public distribution said the state and central government agencies have already procured 18.01 million tonnes.

The huge procurement comes as pleasant surprise to the government that is struggling with acute inflation.

Inflation was recorded a 42-month high at 7.61 percent for the week ended April 26.

The government had set a target of around 15 million tonnes wheat procurement this year, particularly when the unseasonal rains hit Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh intermittently between February and March.

India grows only one wheat crop a year. Sowing starts in October, and the crop is ready for harvest by March-April across the country.

“The procurement is 92 percent of the total arrivals of 19.6 million tonnes, which is nearly double the procurement (9.06 million tonnes) made by the government agencies during the corresponding period last year,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Punjab has contributed 9.39 million tonnes, Haryana 5.04 million tonnes, Uttar Pradesh 1.34 million tonnes, Madhya Pradesh 1.26 million tonnes, Rajasthan 0.70 million tonnes and Gujarat 0.17 million tonnes. The other contributing states include Bihar, Uttarakhand and Delhi,” the government said.

The ministry of agriculture has forecast wheat output in 2008 to the tune of 76.78 million tonnes.

The government has also revised upwardly the estimate for rice output in 2007-08 to 95.68 million tonnes from 94.08 million tonnes.

The government attributes the record wheat production to the well-distributed rains, distribution of better seeds under national food security mission and good temperatures.

“India harvested a record 76.37 million tonnes of wheat in 2000, but imported 1.8 million tonnes of wheat in 2007, down from 5.5 million tonnes of the previous year when a poor crop forced the government to go to international markets for the first time in six years,” an agriculture ministry official, pleading anonymity, told IANS.

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