CHANDIGARH: The Food Corporation of India is confident of procuring six million ton of wheat in Punjab at the support price of Rs 280 per quint a in spite of the Bharatiya Kisan Unions call to farmers to hold back stocks for getting a still higher price Bhagwant Prasad northern zone manager of the FCI told newsmen on Saturday that 2.15 lakh ton wheat had already the mandis in the current procurement season as against only 40000 ton in the same period last year.

Apparently the BKU call had not influenced the farmers Prasad said and added that the support price of Rs 280 which was Rs 35 more than last years was altercative enough for farmers to bring their stocks to the mandis.

The northern zone of FC includes Punjab Haryana Uttar Pradesh Jammu and Kashmir Rajasthan Delhi and Chandigarh The procurement target for the zone said Prasad was 9.5 million ton. Besides the six million ton from Punjab two million ton would be procured from Haryana and 1.5 million ton from Uttar Pradesh. The other states would make only a “notional” contribution.

The support price includes a bonus of Rs 25 by the Central Government and Rs 5 by the stale government which is exempt from commission and taxes. In order to ensure that the farmers offer max procurement season it has been decided to pay bonus only up to May 31 Prasad said

Prasad said that both in Punjab and Haryana there had been a reduction of area under wheat by about 50000 acres each because: the farmers had switched over to cultivation of oilseeds. However both states had a very good crop thanks to the favorable weather conditions. For ensuring that the procurement target was fulfilled state agencies.

Like PUNSUP and MARK-FED had been involved in the operations steps have been taken to prevent sale outside the mandis stock limits imposed on grain dealers and restrictions placed on movement of food grain outside the state

As many 35905 purchase centers had been set up in Punjab of which 387 were exclusively for the CI. In Haryana 300 purchase centers had been opened including 95 exclusively for the FCI Arrangements had been made for ensuring payment to farmers within 72 hours according to Prasad.

Questioned about the Centers decision to import wheat Prasad said this had become necessary to replenish the buffer stocks which were substantially reduced.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 1, 1992