India has Enough Wheat Stock; Govt to take Action Against Hoarders if Needed, says Food Secy Sudhanshu Pandey

India has enough wheat stock; Govt to take action against hoarders if needed, says Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey

According to the news agency PTI, Pandey said the government’s wheat production forecast is around 105 million tonnes in the rabi season of the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) while the trade estimates are 95-98 million tonnes.

Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey on Monday claimed that India has sufficient wheat stock and that it will take action against hoarders to boost domestic supply if needed.

The government may also consider using measures like asking for disclosure of wheat stocks by traders and imposing stock limits to augment domestic availability.

Addressing the 82nd AGM of the Roller Flour Millers Federation of India, Pandey said there is no problem of wheat in the country and the Centre has 24 million tonnes of wheat in godowns of state-owned FCI.

The secretary pointed out that wheat prices have gone up due to “speculative trading”.

According to the news agency PTI, Pandey said the government’s wheat production forecast is around 105 million tonnes in the rabi season of the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) while the trade estimates are 95-98 million tonnes.

Even if trade estimates are to be believed, Pandey said the production is enough to meet the domestic demand.

The country has exported 4.5 million tonnes of wheat so far this fiscal year. Out of that, 2.1 million tonnes were shipped before the imposition of a ban on wheat exports on May 13.

India exported 7.2 million tonnes of wheat in the previous fiscal year.

“There is no problem of wheat availability within the country. The overall quantity which we need for the domestic requirement is available in the country,” Pandey asserted.

The government will take necessary steps, if needed, to ensure adequate wheat supply in the market, he said.

“There has been an impact on prices because of speculative trading,” he said, adding people have hoarded wheat in anticipation of further price rises.

Pandey pointed out that wheat is coming slowly into the market as speculators are still hoarding in anticipation of price rises.

“Our wheat stock position is comfortable. We have 24 million tonnes in the central pool,” he said.

The government is making efforts to raise wheat production in the coming rabi (winter-sown) season.

“Adequate wheat is available in the country. We will take steps if needed to bring out the grain into the market,” PTI quoted Pandey as saying.

To check hoarding and black marketing, the secretary noted that the requirements of disclosure of wheat stocks by traders could be the first stage before the imposition of stock limits.

India’s wheat production is estimated to have declined to 106.84 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year from 109.6 million tonnes in the previous year due to heat waves in certain states like Punjab and Haryana.

The government’s wheat procurement fell drastically to around 19 million tonne in the 2022-23 marketing year (April-March) compared with 43 million tonnes in the previous year.

This forced the Centre to impose a ban on wheat exports and also supply more rice instead of wheat through ration shops.

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