MP, not Punjab is now the top wheat-procuring state

Till date, MP has procured around 12.77 million tonnes of wheat, which is expected to reach 13 million tonnes by the time the process ends in the next few weeks.

Madhya Pradesh is set to pump in around Rs 25,000 crore into its rural economy by the time its all-time high wheat procurement draws to a close.

This has made the state the country’s largest wheat purchaser in 2020-21.

Till date, the state procured around 12.77 million tonnes of wheat, which is expected to reach 13 million tonnes by the time the process ends in the next few weeks.

Punjab has closed its procurement for this year at 12.76 million tonnes.

However, due to the massive procurement, the state government is facing some challenges on the storage front.

Till Sunday, around 7.5 per cent of the procured wheat was in the process of being shifted to safe destinations.

However, government officials are confident that by time the purchases end in the next few weeks, all the wheat will be safely stored.

This year, Madhya Pradesh produced around 30 million tonnes of wheat.

“Normally, it takes around 15 days from the closure of procurement to bag and store wheat in godowns, but this year, we have maintained 85-90 per cent efficiency in transportation right from the first day of procurement.

“Since procurement is going on, it will take another 7-10 days for the entire stock to be stored safely,” the state’s principal secretary, food and civil supplies, Sheo Shekhar Shukla told Business Standard.

He said there is no crisis of storage, despite such high levels of procurement as more than 2,000 godowns and other facilities are available with the state.

These facilities have been properly mapped and linked with the procurement centres.

“It’s only in the fag end that there is a long haul for trucks and hence their turnaround time decreases,” said Shukla.

Usually, around 1 million farmers sell wheat in Madhya Pradesh to the government every year.

However, this year, the number jumped by almost 60 per cent as private buying was negligible.

“We have already deposited around Rs 20,500 crore into the bank accounts of more than 1.6 million farmers, of which almost 1 million are small and marginal farmers. For the rest, the process is on,” Shukla said.

The number of small and marginal farmers from whom wheat was purchased this year was almost 73 per cent more than last year.

He said the state had a fair idea of big increase in procurement numbers and raised the number of procurement centres by almost 28 per cent compared to the previous years.

It also converted around 30-40 godowns into procurement centres so that there was not delay in transportation.

Till last year, around 2-4 per cent of the godowns were converted.

“We normally receive around 3,000 tonnes of wheat daily in each procurement centre, but this time very few centres procured less than 5,000 tonnes of wheat on a daily basis,” Shukla said.

He said in a day, the state is using around 10,000 trucks to move the procured wheat to godowns.

Photograph: Ajay Verma/Reuters

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