Wheat arrivals remain low in Punjab markets

April 13th, 2011 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, April 13 (IANS) Even while the harvest festival of Baisakhi is being celebrated across Punjab, wheat arrivals in the state’s grain markets continued to be slow.

Food and supplies officials said Wednesday that only 10,079 tonnes of wheat had been procured in various grain markets till Tuesday evening.

This is much lower than the 947,560 tonnes of wheat procured by six government agencies and private millers in the same period, starting April 1, last year.

“So far, the arrival of wheat across the mandis (grain markets) has been slow. Some markets have not received any wheat at all. This is mainly because of the inclement weather over most parts of the state in recent days,” a food and supplies official told IANS.

However, agriculture and food and supplies officials, who are expecting a bumper crop this year like in the last two years, say that the wheat arrival is likely to pick up from the coming weekend.

“The arrivals will pick up next week. It will be another good crop this year. The state will cross the 100 lakh tonnes procurement mark again,” the official added.

Out of the wheat arrivals so far, government agencies - five of the Punjab government and the centre’s Food Corporation of India (FCI) - have procured over 87 percent of the stocks. The rest has been picked up by private traders.

In neighbouring Haryana, the total wheat arrival in grain markets till Tuesday evening was nearly 50,000 tonnes, officials said,

Both Punjab and Haryana contribute over 60 percent of the total national food grain kitty.

In 2010, Punjab procured nearly 105 lakh tonnes of wheat and Haryana about 60 lakh tonnes.

The Punjab government has set up 1,734 procurement centres across the state.

The state government has appointed senior officers at the state and district levels to monitor the process.

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