of Punjab and Haryana will start bringing their wheat
crop to the market this week and a number of private companies
and agents spread out in villages offering significantly
higher prices for their produce than the government''s
government has raised the support price for this year
to Rs850 a quintal, which includes a Rs-100 bonus, from
Rs650 last year. Private companies, on the other hand,
are said to be offering more for the wheat to almost as
much as Rs1,050 a quintal to farmers in Patiala district
corporate buying may again dent, after last year, the
purchase of wheat by the Food Corporation of India (FCI),
which feeds the public distribution system for economically
weaker sections of society and intervenes in the open
market to stabilise prices.
2006-07, the FCI was able to procure only 9.2 million
tonnes of wheat, against 14.8 million tonnes in 2005-06.
corporation is targeting a procurement of 15 million tonnes
this year (the crop output is expected to rise to 72.5
million tonnes from 69.5 million tonnes last year), but
experts feel it could be an uphill task now.
and Cargill have drawn up plans to buy large quantities
of wheat this season, though the Australian Wheat Board
has decided to stay out of Punjab and Haryana.
companies said initially they will try and buy at the
minimum support prices though later, it depends on the
year, ITC bought 600,000 tonnes of wheat to meet its requirement
for flour and biscuits.
competition from the private sector in the mandis has
intensified because private companies are prepared to
pick up the wheat from farmers'' doorsteps, saving them
transport and storage costs.
year of the 8.12 million tonnes of wheat sold in Punjab
through the mandis, private traders bought 1.17 million
tonnes or 15 per cent and are known to have bought another
1 million tonne directly from farmers.
farmer associations have also come out strongly in support
of traders. In fact, All India Kisan Coordination Committee
chief Bhupinder Singh Mann and Shetkari Sangathan leader
and Member of Parliament Sharad Joshi asked farmers to
boycott FCI for the first 45 days of procurement.