Glut situation in mandis as Punjab awaits easing of supply standards
There is a glut situation in mandis and sourcing centers in Punjab as at least 38 lakh tonnes of wheat are waiting to be lifted and moved to storage points.
According to the National Department of Food and Civilian Supply, the situation is due to the delay in the Centre’s approval to grant a relaxation in supply standards, as the current rabi season’s harvest has a percentage of shriveled kernels above the allowable limit of six.
The grain suffered a loss in quality due to a sudden increase in temperature in mid-March, which also affected yield.
According to a State Department report, most of the mandis in Punjab, except those in Moga, Tarn Taran and Amritsar, are full of wheat, either stuffed in sacks or kept in the open, because the harvest in these three districts suffered negligible loss of quality.
There are at least 2,321 mandis and centers in the state, where supply operations are ongoing. “The Food Corporation of India (FCI) does not accept most grains which have suffered loss of quality (shrinkage) beyond the permitted limits, as the Union Ministry of Food and Public Supply does not did not allow the relaxations despite our repeated requests at different levels,” said an official from the Punjab food department.
So far, 93 lakh tons of wheat have arrived in state mandis, of which 90.8 lakh tons have been purchased by four state agencies – Pungrain, Punsup, Markfed and the State Warehousing Company. State – and Central agency that runs the national public distribution system – Food Corporation of India.
Of the total purchase, 5.8 lakh tonnes of wheat were purchased by traders, which would be unprecedented and the highest of all available records. A payment of ₹13,626.24 crores was paid to farmers when purchasing their produce at a minimum support price of ₹2015 per quintal.
Two weeks ago, a team of scientists traveled to Punjab when its food department sounded the alarm over declining quality. Experts from the Indian Grain Storage Management and Research Institute, Hyderabad, had submitted a report to the Center on the loss of quality and, it seems, the matter is awaiting the approval of the Minister of Food and Agriculture. Public Distribution Union, Piyush Goyal.
State Department officials said that due to a delay in the lift, the procurement process has stalled and they are waiting to reconcile inventory.
The supply is coming to an end as daily arrivals on Tuesday dwindled to 2.25 lakh tonnes. The food department hopes to see the end of the season by the first week of May.