Govt’s Jan 1 grain stocks down 6% on year, but surpass buffer norm

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021


–Sources: Govt Jan 1 food grain stock 53.0 mln tn versus 21.4 mln buffer norm
–Govt Jan 1 rice stock 18.7 mln tn versus 7.6 mln buffer norm
–Govt Jan 1 wheat stock 34.3 mln tn versus 13.8 mln buffer norm


By Sampad Nandy


NEW DELHI – Government agencies had 53.0 mln tn food grain stocks at the start of the year, sharply higher than the 21.4 mln tn buffer required, officials said. The stocks were, however, down over 6% on year.


Food grain stocks with government agencies included 18.7 mln tn milled rice and 34.3 mln tn wheat as of Jan 1, against the required buffer of 7.6 mln tn and 13.8 mln tn, respectively.


At the beginning of the month, the Centre had 40.4 mln tn un-milled paddy, the officials said. This takes the total stocks with the government to 93.4 mln tn, sharply higher than its storage capacity of 87.8 mln tn.


The officials explained that food grain stocks with the Centre have surged due to a sharp rise in paddy procurement over the past few months. So far in the 2020-21 (Oct-Sep) kharif marketing season, the government has bought 35.3 mln tn rice, up 36% on year.


While the Centre has pegged rice procurement in the 2020-21 (Oct-Sep) kharif marketing season at 49.5 mln tn, it expects overall purchases to surpass the estimate, the officials said.


"There are expectations that the procurement may be sharply higher than the estimated quantity as several states are planning to buy enough paddy from farmers in the face of the farmers' protests," one of the officials said. 


With the Centre discontinuing the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana at the end of November, the Food Corp of India has been looking at ways to liquidate its inventories.


In December, the FCI had cut the base price of rice under the open market sale scheme by 11% to 2,000 rupees per 100 kg, from 2,250 rupees earlier.


"The price cut for rice was necessary to increase private purchases at the weekly auction scheme with the government looking at a storage crisis," one of the officials said.


It had also slashed the base price of lustre-lost wheat procured last year to 1,840 per 100 kg from 2,080 rupees earlier.




Edited by Charumathi Sankaran


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