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Centre relaxes norms for wheat procurement in Punjab, Haryana

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New Delhi, May 15 (Ajit Weekly News) The Centre has decided to allow the FCI to procure wheat in Punjab and Haryana, including Chandigarh UT, for central pool by relaxing the Fair and Average Quality (FAQ) of shrivelled and broken grains upto 18 per cent without any value cut, an official statement said on Sunday.

This decision will reduce the hardship of farmers and avoid distress sale of wheat, said the Union Food Ministry statement.

The Punjab and Haryana governments had written to the Department of Food and Public Distribution seeking relaxation in Uniform Specifications of Wheat for ongoing 2022-23. The limit of shrivelled and broken grains is 6 per cent and relaxation was sought upto 20 per cent.

Central teams were deputed to Punjab and Haryana during April-May 2022 to collect very large size samples from the mandis and these were analysed in FCI labs. The results indicated presence of shrivelled and broken grains in varying percentages and beyond FAQ norms, said the ministry.

“The emergence of shrivelled grains is a natural phenomenon appearing as a result of extreme heatwave that enveloped the northern part of the country in the month of March. These adverse weather conditions are beyond the control of the farmers and hence, they should not be penalised for such natural occurrence. Thus, suitable relaxation in FAQ norms would protect interests of farmers and promote efficient procurement and distribution of foodgrains,” the ministry said in the statement.

During the Rabi Market Season (RMS) 2021-22, wheat production was 1,095 LMT and procurement was 433 LMT. During RMS 2022-23, wheat production was estimated at 1,113 LMT. But early onset of summer (by end of March 2022) resulted in shrivelled grains, causing drop in yield per acre in Punjab and Haryana. A similar decision was also taken in 2020-21 when FAQ norms were relaxed upto 16 per cent to protect the interest of the farmers.

–Ajit Weekly News

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