New Delhi: The government's wheat purchase is expected to touch 44 million tonne in the 2013-14 marketing year starting April, surpassing last year's record of 38.1 million tonne, Food Minister K V Thomas said.
This year, wheat procurement is likely to increase by over 15 per cent despite marginal fall in output by 2.6 million tonne to 92.3 million tonne. Procurement of wheat, a major rabi crop, begins from April and continues till June.
"We are targeting to procure 44 million tonne of wheat this year, about 5.9 million tonne higher than the last year," Thomas told. These estimates were finalized in a meeting of the State Food Secretaries, he added.
Anticipating higher procurement, Thomas said the government is gearing up to buy wheat at the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,350 per quintal from farmers by increasing purchase centres from Rs 10,000 to 12,000.
In order to ensure immediate payments to farmers on delivery of wheat, the Minister said that the states have been asked to make available adequate funds for procurement agencies and farmers should be paid via cheque.
In view of problem faced by some states regarding availability of packaging material during last year, states have been asked to ensure adequate availability in advance, he added.