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Pvt traders’ wheat purchases to hit govt agencies’ buys by 33%

Wheat procurement by government agencies this year will fall to about 25 million tonne from 38 million tonne last year due to aggressive buying by private traders, Food Minister K V Thomas said on Friday. Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, Thomas said wheat procurement in the year beginning April 2013 will be 33 per cent lower than last year.

Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of food grains, and state agencies had procured 37.35 million tonne wheat last year.Although wheat marketing year runs from April to March, the entire procurement exercise generally gets over by June.
'This season production has been good but procurement will come down from 38 million tonne (last year) to 25 million tonne' as private players are aggressively buying foodgrain, he said.

Private traders are now buying wheat at a rate higher than the government's Rs 1,350 a quintal minimum support price (MSP).Thomas said the requirement of foodgrain for implementation of the landmark Food Security Bill, which guarantees 5 kg rice, wheat and coarse cereals a month at heavily subsidised price to two-third of the nation's population, os 62 million tonne.

Those in the poorest category will receive 35 kg of food grains. Approximately 75 per cent of rural residents and 50 per cent of urban residents will be covered by the subsidy scheme.
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