Govt expects record wheat procurement of 26 mn tonnes this yr

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New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) Buoyed by estimates of bumperwheat production, the government is targeting procurement of arecord 26 million tonnes in 2011-12 from farmers at a supportprice of Rs 1,120 per quintal.

The government is expecting to procure 26 million tonnesin 2011-12 marketing year (April-March), which is 16 per centhigher than last year''s 22.52 million tonnes.

The previous high was achieved in 2008-09 marketing year,when the procurement stood at 25.3 million tonnes.

"The government expects a bumper wheat crop and theestimated procurement may be to the tune of 26 milliontonnes," Food Corporation of India (FCI) said in a statement.

According to the second advance estimate released by theAgriculture Ministry, wheat production is likely to touch anew record of 81.47 million tonnes this year as against 80.71million tonnes in the previous year.

The government procures wheat and rice from farmers atminimum support price (MSP) to provide them a remunerativeprice.

It supplies cheaper grains to poor through ration shopsand maintains buffer stock.

FCI is the nodal agency for procurement and distributionof foodgrains. It also involves other state agencies to buythe grains from farmers.

Anticipating shortage of space on account of likely highprocurement, FCI has decided to hire godowns for one year tostore wheat, which will be harvested from April onwards.

"The efforts will be to hire as much as capacity aspossible under one year guarantee scheme so as to meetthe storage requirement for the coming rabi season," thestatement added.

Recently, Food Minister K V thomas had said thegovernment plans to add 17 million tonnes of storage capacityin the next 2-3 years in view of higher procurement, which isessential to implement the National Food Security Act.

The Prime Minister had last week said the governmentwill soon introduce the related Bill in Parliament.

Under the National Food Security bill, the government willprovide legal guarantee to beneficiaries for fixed quantity ofrice or wheat supplied via ration shops each month at asubsidised rates.

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