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FCI seeks Rs 14,300 crore more for rice procurement

Food Corporation of India [FCI], the government's nodal food grains procurement agency, has sought an additional Rs 14,300 crore during this fiscal for rice procurement in the 2012-13 marketing season. According to FCI, paddy procurement, which commenced this month, has reached around 5 lakh tonnes in the first week of October.

The government has set a target of procuring 40 million tonnes [MT] of the staple in 2012-13 marketing season [October-September]. 'FCI has asked for an additional sum of Rs 14,300 crore for the current fiscal as the agency expects to procure 24 MT of rice in the current kharif marketing season against its estimate of 17.5 MT,' a senior food ministry official said.

The agency explained that of the total 34.06 MT expected to be procured in the kharif marketing season, which lasts from October to March, around 10 MT of the staple would be from the Decentralised Procurement [DCP] states and the rest 24 MT would have to be procured by FCI, the official added.

A DCP state procures and distributes foodgrains itself and the foodgrain subsidy is released by the Government of India on a quarterly basis after distribution of foodgrains by the state government.

‘FCI in the 2012-13 budget estimate had projected 17.5 MT of rice to be procured in the kharif season. Now with the additional 6.56 MT of rice, the cost would come to Rs 14,300 crore as the estimated acquisition cost for the staple is about Rs 2,182 per quintal,’ the official said. The acquisition costs includes the minimum support price [MSP], which is Rs 1,250 per quintal for common paddy and Rs 1,280 for grade A, as well as storage, milling and the cost of transporting the grain.

‘The food ministry's estimated fund requirement for the procurement of foodgrains and other items is Rs 42,880 crore. With the new addition, it would go up to about Rs 57,200 crore,’ the official added.     


INDIA IN TALKS WITH IRAN ON WHEAT EXPORTS: FCI

India is negotiating with Iran for exporting two lakh tonnes of wheat in December and 10 lakh tonnes annually for the next three years, Food Corporation of India [FCI] said on Tuesday. ‘Negotiations are being held with Iran government for export of 2 lakh tonnes of wheat in December 2012 and in the long run 1 million tonnes each for the next three years,’ FCI chairman and MD Amar Singh told reporters here. India lifted a ban on wheat exports in September, 2011, althrough private trade on account of record production in two consecutive years. Later, two million tonnes of wheat exports were allowed from the government stock. However, Iran has not been importing Indian wheat since 1996 due to quality issues. The two nations are in talks for the last couple of months to sort out the issue.

An Indian delegation has recently visited Iran in this regard. Singh said, ‘We are still negotiating with Iran and nothing has been finalised yet.’ In his presentation, he said that the government has approved 6.4 lakh tonnes of wheat exports from the central pool out of 20 lakh tonnes approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs [CCEA]. ‘The government has decided to export 2 million tonnes of wheat from central pool vide CCEA decision, which is to be exported by March 31. The export is to be undertaken through STC, PEC and MMTC. A total of 6.40 lakh tonnes has been approved and about 3 lakh tonnes has been shipped. The remaining quantity would be shipped by next month,’ the presentation read.
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