Pawar pitches for more FCI wheat export to ease storage crisis
New Delhi: Anticipating storage problems during the peak wheat procurement season, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Monday said there is scope for exporting more wheat from FCI godowns to clear space for new crop.
In the 2012-13 fiscal, the government permitted 9.5 million tonne of wheat from FCI godowns. Of this, 5 million tonnes was allowed for exports by private players last month. and is yet to be shipped.
"Wheat harvesting will start in full swing from April 14. We are aiming to procure 45 million tonnes and there is last year's stock of 9 million tonnes in FCI godowns. This is huge stock, where to keep, it should be exported," Pawar told PTI.
"We have to export more wheat from FCI godowns as stocks are expected to reach 54 million tonnes," he said.
Stressing the need to fasten wheat shipments due to storage concern, the Minister said, "Exports are delayed. We need to export fast so that some surplus stocks is reduced and space is available during peak harvesting period."
Asked how much more wheat can be shipped, Pawar said, "I cannot say now. The Food Ministry should know."
As on March 1, Food Corporation of India (FCI) had total foodgrains stock of 62.8 million tonnes, of which wheat was 27.1 million tonnes. Storage capacity is 74 million tonnes.
Food Corporation of India (FCI) has started procuring wheat at support price and so far purchased 5 lakh tonnes. It aims to procure 45 million tonnes this year as against 38 million tonnes in 2012-13 marketing year (April-March).
On impact of recent rains on wheat crop, the Minister said that there is no impact on the crop and "I believe wheat output will be more than last year's 94.88 million tonnes."
Higher output is coming from Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. "In Madhya Pradesh, area under crop is less but crop condition is good," he said.
Pawar also mentioned that the crop condition of other crops like pulses and oilseeds was promising.