42% less wheat supply in Haryana mandis so far

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As the current shopping season draws to a close this year, mandis in Haryana have seen a 42% decline in wheat purchases compared to the corresponding period in 2021.

The sharp drop in purchases comes at a time when farmers expect the market price of their produce to rise in the coming months due to the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Till April 26 this year, up to 41.10 lakh MT of wheat has been procured from the mandis (APMC), mostly by government agencies, while this figure was 70.41 lakh MT in 2021 during of the same period.

In 2021, a total of 84.93 lakh MT of wheat was procured during the entire supply season.
This year, the supply season started on April 1 and will continue until May 15. But officials do not expect much wheat to arrive in the remaining period of this season.

“At maximum, the figure can reach 50-55 lakh MT,” said an official from the Haryana Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

Haryana had set a target to procure 85 lakh tonnes of wheat this Rabi season.

But the state risks missing the target due to lower wheat production this year and hoarding of it by farmers and traders anticipating higher prices after the Russian-Ukrainian war.

In recent years, this is the first time that a section of traders has purchased wheat (97,062 MT) from farmers, even in government run mandis (APMC).

In 2020, private traders had bought only 235 MT in mandis while this figure was only 87 MT in 2021. They bought wheat supply up to Rs 2,331 per quintal when government agencies bought food grains at the rate of 2,015 quintal (MSP) only.

Former All-India Rice Exporters Association Chairman Vijay Setia said: “A farmer pays 6.5% fee – 2.5% kachi aadhat and 2% market fee and the Rural Development Fund of Haryana (HRDF) – to sell food grain in mandis .If he sells the same to private players outside mandis then he can save the fee.
That’s what happened this year. Private traders bought the wheat from the farmers but asked them to keep the product even at home. In other cases, traders also kept wheat in godowns on behalf of farmers.

Normally, farmers bring their produce to the mandis to sell in order to get the MSP, as declared by the government. But this time, traders had offered a premium of Rs 5-10 per quintal on the MSP but lately increased it. Private traders have offered farmers a price slightly above the MSP, as major wheat exporters – Russia and Ukraine – are absent from the wheat export market.

A Ram Mehar farmer from Fatehabad said, “Due to poor financial conditions and pressure to incur expenses for the next harvest, farmers sold the wheat either in the mandis or to private traders. Anticipating a rise in prices following the Russo-Ukrainian war, they can retain nearly 5% of wheat, but traders can keep a much larger quantity of food grains in their stores.

BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni also said that only farmers who own larger land holdings can store wheat longer.

Crop yield has fallen by 8-10% in the state, according to official estimates, due to the early onset of summer coupled with an exceptional rise in mercury this year.
Chaduni added that in some farms, production has dropped by 25% this year.

According to the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of Haryana, JP Dalal, this time most of the farmers in several parts of southern Haryana sowed mustard on wheat so that the problem of fodder shortage also arose.

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