NEW DELHI: Wheat procurement has been extended till May 31 in six states, including Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, where it was to end early this month, the Food Ministry said on Sunday.
Wheat procurement was scheduled to end on May 10 in Rajasthan and on May 15 in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
Wheat procurement in the ongoing 2022-23 marketing year began in April. Maximum wheat is procured in the first few months of the year.
''The Centre has asked wheat producing states and UTs with procurement closing dates expiring early to continue procurement till 31st May, 2022,'' the Food Ministry said in a statement.
Nodal agency Food Corporation of India (FCI) has also been asked to continue with wheat procurement under the central pool, it said.
The extended period is expected to benefit farmers. The decision comes in the wake of requests by state governments/UTs to continue the procurement process, it added.
Meanwhile, the procurement of wheat under the central pool is progressing smoothly in states of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Gujarat, Bihar and Rajasthan.
The ministry further said the government's procurement has been less so far this year mainly due to the higher market prices than MSP, wherein farmers have been selling wheat to private traders.
The government on May 13 restricted export of wheat to rein in high prices of wheat, except in case of irrevocable letter of credit and requests from neighbouring/food-deficit countries.
The government's wheat procurement reached 18 million tonne till May 14 of the ongoing 2022-23 marketing year, less than 36.7 million tonne in the year-ago period.
Wheat procurement target has been revised to 19.5 million tonne from earlier target of 44.4 million tonne for this year.