New Delhi, March 20: Union Agriculture and farmers welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh on Satuday said that news report of ASSOCHAM stating that wheat production in the country this year is likely to be lower by 1.5 crore tonne is factually incorrect.
“In 2015-16, wheat production in the country is estimated at 93.82 million tonnes (2nd Advance Estimate). The recent untimely rains and hailstorm in some parts of the country have caused some damage but, as per present assessment, production of wheat in the country would still be around 92-93 million tonne which is substantially higher than the wheat production of 86.53 million tonnes during 2014-15”.
Singh said that the present stock of wheat with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) is higher than the stocking norms. Against the stocking norm of 7.6 million tonnes as on 1st April, 2016, the present stock of wheat in the central pool is 13.5 million tonne. During the last one year (FCI) has sold 7 million tonnes of wheat through open market operations. For the past some time, the market response to the tenders floated by FCI has been weak which implies that there is no shortage of wheat in the country at present.
Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister informed that during the last one year international price of wheat have been subdued. In order to protect the interests of farmers, Government imposed 25 per cent import duty on wheat. He further said that the harvesting of wheat has started. With a target of 30.5 million tonne, FCI has already started procurement activity.
Singh said that at this juncture, such incorrect information is being publicized with a view to compel government to reduce import duty on wheat. Lower import duty on wheat would lead to a fall in wheat price in the domestic market and farmers will incur heavy loss while traders will purchase from farmers at lowered price.
Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister said that the Government is keeping a close watch on prices, particularly prices of food items and will make all efforts to keep food prices under control.