Punjab crosses annual wheat procurement target

May 2nd, 2008 - 5:43 pm ICT by admin  

Chandigarh, May 2 (IANS) With the wheat procurement season just half way through, Punjab has already surpassed the eight million tonne target set for this year. Through one central government (Food Corp of India) agency and five state agencies, the state had procured 8.66 million tonnes of wheat by Thursday evening, a government spokesman announced here Friday.

The total procurement by government and private agencies so far has crossed 8.29 million tonnes.

The central government has this year fixed a target of eight million tonnes of wheat procurement for Punjab through the six government agencies.

Punjab, which has less than 1.3 percent of the country’s total geographical area, contributes over 60 percent of the country’s total food grain production.

A payment of Rs.79.54 billion ($1.98 billion) has been released to farmers by government agencies for purchase of the wheat.

Till May 1 last year, Punjab had contributed 5.50 million tonnes of wheat to the central pool.

“With procurement in full swing in 1,615 procurement centres in the state, the procurement figure is likely to cross the nine million tonnes mark this year,” the spokesman said.

The government agencies have procured nearly 98 percent of all the wheat bought till Thursday.

Over one million tonnes of wheat had been procured in Ferozepore district followed by Sangrur district with 909,796 tonnes and Ludhiana district with 782,971 tonnes.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed Punjab government to set aside over Rs.111.76 billion to pay for the wheat it buys.

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