Punjab, Haryana wheat target fixed at 12 mn tonnes

April 7th, 2008 - 7:12 pm ICT by admin  

Chandigarh, April 7 (IANS) Notwithstanding the damage from rains to the standing wheat crop in parts of Punjab and Haryana last week, the central government has fixed a collective target of 12 million tonnes on the two states for wheat procurement this season. “The wheat target for Punjab is 80 lakh (8 million) tonnes while for Haryana it is 40 lakh (4 million) tonnes,” Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar announced here Monday in the presence of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Pawar said the total wheat production this year in the country is expected to be 14-15 million tonnes.

Punjab and Haryana contribute nearly 90 percent of the food grain to the country’s buffer stocks.

Wheat procurement by the central and state procurement agencies started April 1 though harvesting of wheat is yet to start in most areas of both states.

With last week’s unseasonal rain, the harvesting is likely to be delayed.

Wheat arrivals at present are minimal in grain markets in the two states and much of the stocks being brought are of the last year’s produce.

Pawar said that both chief ministers have brought to his notice the losses suffered by farmers in their respective states following last week’s rains.

“Our team will come to assess the damage,” Pawar said.

The agriculture minister, however, did not seem unduly worried about reports that wheat production could fall because of the rainfall.

“We want to purchase wheat only from our farmers and do not want to import it. We do it (import) only to overcome shortfall in our stocks,” Pawar said.

He said the central government and both states were working out plans to help farmers with fertilizers for next kharif season.

“If need be, we will import fertilizers to overcome shortages in the country,” the union minister said.

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