UP targets rabi wheat procurement of 5.5 million tonnes at Rs 1,925/quintal MSP

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The Uttar Pradesh government has set an ambitious wheat procurement target of 5.5 million tonnes (MT) for the coming 2020-21 rabi marketing season, reports Business Standard. The state cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Yogi Adityanath last evening approved the rabi procurement policy under the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,925 per quintal (100 kg) set by the central government.

Last year, the state had failed to achieve its target and could log only about 3.8 MT of wheat compared to the seasonal target of 5.5 MT. The sluggish procurement in the 2019-20 rabi season was attributed to the Lok Sabha elections apart from the competitive prices in the open market, which had provided a viable option to the famers to sell their produce.

Following the poor response last year, the state government had extended the wheat procurement window by an additional 10 days to June 25, 2019 to partly achieve its target and keep the wheat prices firm in the market for the benefit of farmers.

Of the total target of 5.5 MT, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) will directly procure 150,000 tonnes, while the remaining wheat would be purchased by the various state government agencies, which would set up 5,000 procurement centres across UP.

The bulk of 2.5 MT and 0.5 MT would be procured by the UP Cooperative Federation Limited (UPCFL) and UP Cooperative Union (UPCU) respectively.

Addressing the media after the cabinet meeting, UP cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh said the farmers would be paid their dues directly into their bank accounts within 72 hours. He said the procurement would kick off from April 1 and continue for the successive two and half months till June 15, 2020. The procurement would not stop during this period even if the seasonal target is achieved during the meantime.

The Yogi Adityanath government has been working under the agenda of doubling the farm income by 2024. The high procurement target, remunerative prices, prompt payments, early vacant of fields etc are the key elements of the same strategy. It is also promoting food processing and agricultural allied industries to further enrich the farm value chain. In the paddy procurement season 2019-20, the state had clocked paddy purchase of more than 5.66 MT compared to the target of 5 MT.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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