India’s stockpile of wheat was above the buffer stock norm at the last scheduled count on October 1 and the next such quarterly review which takes into account seasonal procurement cycle, will be due on January 1.
According to a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha by Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal, the minimum buffer requirement changes every quarter, peaking on July 1 when procurement of Rabi crop ends.
It dips to the lowest on April 1 as accumulated stocks get released for beneficiaries of government schemes ahead of the new crop coming in.
As per the reply, India’s wheat stock was 227.46 lakh tonnes on October 1, 2022, as compared to the buffer norm of 205.20 lakh tonnes.
The stockpile has since dwindled to 190.27 lakh tonnes as on December 1, 2022, primarily due to the release of foodgrain for supply to poor beneficiaries while hardly any procurement was added to the stockpile.
At the next count on January 1, the buffer requirement of wheat is 138 lakh tonnes.
On Thursday, the ministry said in a statement that the Government of India has sufficient food grain stocks under the central pool to meet the requirement of NFSA (National Food Security Act) and its other welfare schemes as well as for additional allocation of PMGKAY (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana).
About 159 lakh tonnes of wheat will be available as on January 1, 2023, which is well above the buffer norm requirement of 138 lakh tonnes, it had said. As on December 12, around 182 lakh tonnes of wheat is available in the central pool.
In the written reply to Rajya Sabha, the average retail prices of wheat in the country stood at Rs 31.38 per kg in November, up 7 per cent from rates in May when a ban was imposed on exports of wheat.
Wheat procurement in rabi marketing season (April-June) of 2022-23 fell to 187.92 lakh tonnes as against 433.44 lakh tonnes in 2021-22 as market price of wheat was higher than the ruling MSP.
India’s wheat production declined to 106.84 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) from 109.6 million tonnes in the previous year due to heat waves in certain states like Punjab and Haryana.
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