Food Min guidelines for wheat in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh: broken grain sourcing standards take a break

The Ministry of Food has relaxed the standard for wheat purchased by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh by increasing the percentage of shriveled and broken kernels to 18 % compared to the existing standard of 6%.

Earlier, the Center sent two teams to Punjab to assess the extent of the problem of shriveled wheat grains purchased by government agencies from farmers. A similar request for relaxation of sourcing standards for shriveled and broken grains was also received from Haryana.

“In order to lessen the hardships of farmers and avoid distress sale of wheat, the limit of shriveled and broken grains may be relaxed,” said a communication from the Ministry of Food in Punjab, Haryana and Chandīgarh.

Sources said officials from the Ministry of Food had visited various mandis in Punjab to take wheat samples to determine the extent of the shriveled wheat grain caused by the heatwave in late March. , considered the ripening period of the crop.

The ministry had sent a team to Punjab last month to survey the extent of the shriveled grain. The team, in its report, said extreme heat in March and early April increased the percentage of shriveled kernels to 10-20% in the state, from the 6% prescribed by the FCI.

Last month, the Punjab government urged the Center to ease quality standards for wheat sourcing, as a higher than prescribed level of shriveled grain in the state’s current crop has led to lower purchases.

Government agencies bought 18 million tonnes (MT) of wheat from farmers, mostly in major producing states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, till Friday, a drop of 49% compared to the same period of the previous year.

Five agencies including FCI, Markfed and Pungrain have been entrusted with sourcing wheat for the MSP from farmers in Punjab, where over 9.55 MT have been purchased so far compared to 13.22 MT purchased a year ago. a year. Officials said purchases in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh have been completed.

In Haryana, 4.07 MT was purchased by agencies, while in Madhya Pradesh over 4.14 MT was purchased.
In other wheat producing states such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Gujarat, the volume of grain purchases was marginal.

Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey recently said the drop in production, coupled with private purchases from farmers by exporters and traders holding on to stocks, would lead to a 55% drop year on year. another of wheat purchases in marketing year 2022-23 at 19.5. MT. This means government grain purchases from the MSP would hit their lowest level in 13 years this year.

The government revised the wheat production estimate for the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) to 105 MT, down from its February projection of 111.32 MT, based on information according to which the early start of summer in March had a negative impact on crop yields. .

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