Pawar rules out import of wheat this year

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Hyderabad, May 26 (UNI) Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today ruled out import of wheat this year, saying the country had sufficient production and the procurement was also very encouraging.

Addressing a press conference, in connection with the National Conference of Ministers of Agriculture and Horticulture here, he said the government had procured 210 lakh tonnes of wheat against a target of 150 lakh tonnes.

''There is no question of importing wheat. We have sufficient production and the procurement is very encouraging. If this continues for another one or two years, we have to think of stocking the produce and the country will also be in a position to export to some African countries,'' he said.

Stating that the Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had extended their cooperation in procurement of wheat, he said the farmers in these states had produced more wheat in view of the encouraging Minimum Support Price (MSP) announced by the Centre.

Expressing hope that rice procurement would improve in the coming years, he said the Centre had procured 246 lakh tonnes of rice as against the target of 280 lakh tonnes this year.

Stating that there were some requests from various African countries for foodgrains exports from India, he said the government would look into their request depending on the situation.

Regarding MSP for agriculture produce, the Minister said the government would announce MSP for all agriculture products before Kharif.

In view of the elections in some states, the government was not able to announce remunerative prices for agriculture products, he said, adding that it would take a decision in a few days for the benefit of the farmers.

Asked about the Andhra Pradesh Government's request for allocation of more rice for the subsidy rice scheme, he said it was not possible to allocate more rice.

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