Wheat stock with Food Corporation of India falls below 100 lakh tones for the first time since 2018

The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has reported a decline in wheat stocks, falling below 100 lakh tones for the first time since 2018, standing at 97 lakh tones this month. This decrease is attributed to low procurement over the past two years and a significant sale of the cereal in the open market to regulate prices. However, in contrast, rice stocks held by FCI currently exceed four times the buffer norm.

Despite the drop in wheat stocks, the current level remains above the statutory buffer stock requirement, which stands at 74.6 lakh tonnes for April. An official told TOI that the existing stock is sufficient to meet the National Food Security requirements and surpasses the buffer norm. With the procurement season commencing from March 1, authorities anticipate a notable improvement in procurement compared to the previous two years.

The government has projected wheat procurement to reach approximately 320 lakh tones, ensuring a favorable position for the government. In June 2023, the government initiated the sale of wheat in the open market to enhance availability and stabilize prices. By the end of February, FCI had sold over 90 lakh tones through market intervention. Since the commencement of public procurement, open market sales have been halted.

Regarding rice, FCI’s current stock stands at around 270 lakh tonnes, excluding nearly 30 lakh tonnes expected from millers. Buffer norms dictate that FCI should maintain approximately 136 lakh tonnes of rice by April 1.

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