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In India Wheat Target Achievable Despite Weather-Woes

Chandigarh: Wheat procurement in India is likely to surpass target set for the public distribution system despite crop damage caused by strong wind and rains in the cereal growing belt in North-western region this week.

A higher yield of wheat this Rabi season is expected to boost the grain procurement in key wheat growing states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana mainstay of federal cereal purchase system. With more rains expected in few days, experts feel that the late sown crop area is suspected to suffer damage in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

Traders feel that in case of heavy crop loss the flour prices in the open market will rise in coming months.

The federal agencies are expected to procure 70-80 per cent of the 320 lakh tonne of wheat for PDS in 2018-19 marketing season at a fixed price from farmers. Rain has hit the key Rabi season crop of wheat attaining maturity in Northern states. Experts have allayed scope of major loss of crop so far but the overcast conditions are keeping farmers wary in the states.

A M Prasad, principal secretary, Uttar Pradesh Agriculture Department said that, presently, the standing-wheat crop is exposed to more rains and strong winds. Overall wheat crop is good in the state and procurement is running smooth in the state. There are reports of crop loss in districts of Agra, Mathura and Kushinagar.”

He also said that a better yield this season is expected to boost output and government procurement. Uttar Pradesh is likely to buy 50 lakh tonne of wheat for PDS compared to 37 lakh tonnes in the last year.

An official in Punjab agriculture department said, “rain has extended the ripening of standing crop and now it is exposed to more rains in coming days.”

An agriculture officer based in Amritsar said, “The late sown wheat plants are top-heavy and prone to toppling in strong wind and rain. Around 10 per cent area falls in late sown category as farmers had cropped vegetables after Kharif in the districts and more rains could cause damage.”


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