Government to procure 320 lakh tonnes of wheat, 55 lakh tonnes of rice

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) The Union Food Ministry said on Thursday it has decided to procure an estimated 320 lakh tonnes of wheat and 55 lakh tonnes of rice harvested in the current Rabi season.

According to the ministry, a conference of food secretaries of the states under the Chairmanship of Food Secretary Ravi Kant was held on Thursday in which prospects of production of wheat and rice along with their procurement were discussed.

The estimated procurement of wheat in Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh will be 119 lakh tonnes, 74 lakh tonnes, 67 lakh tonnes and 40 lakh tonnes respectively.

While the government will procure 16 lakh tonnes of wheat from Rajasthan, the amount will be two lakh tonnes in Bihar, one lakh tonnes in Uttarakhand and 50,000 tonnes in the remaining states.

The Ministry said the estimated procurement of 55 lakh tonnes of rice (rabi) would be over and above the procurement of 375 lakh tonnes of rice of Kharif season.

The major procurement of rice will be done from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as estimated figures are pegged at 19 lakh tonnes and 18 lakh tonnes respectively.

The government will procure 7 lakh tonnes from Odisha, 5 lakh tonnes from Tamil Nadu, 4 lakh tonnes from West Bengal, 1.32 lakh tonnes from Kerala and 34,000 tonnes each from Assam and Maharashtra.

In the same conference, the states were asked to increase the number of procurement centres to make proper arrangement, to give wide publicity to Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Fair Average Quality (FAQ), besides ensuring quick payment to farmers, it said.

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