By Ruchika M Khanna
Private players in Punjab do not seem to be enthused with the bumper wheat arrival in the market. Till date, they have purchased nearly 1.78 lakh metric tonne (LMT) less wheat than they purchased last year.
Information gathered by The Tribune reveals that this year private purchase has been made largely by food-processing units and flour mills. This is mainly because the grains have suffered lustre-loss due to the unseasonal rain just before the harvest season.
Across different mandis, these private players have paid just Rs 5 over and above the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 2,125 per quintal of wheat. Though this year, it was expected that private purchase would be high because of global wheat scarcity, the extended ban on wheat export has proved to be a dampener. As the arrival of grains in the mandis has come down drastically, indicative of the wheat procurement season nearing end, data shows that of the total 124.57 LMT of wheat purchased from mandis, only 4.51 LMT has been purchased by private players. Last year, 6.29 LMT of wheat had been purchased by private players, ie 6.14 per cent of the total purchase. This percentage has dropped to 3.6 per cent now. The maximum private purchase has been reported from the Khanna mandi, where 3.40 lakh quintal wheat was bought by them. Harbans Singh Rosha, president of Khanna Arhtiya Association said this was because eight flour mills were located in the vicinity, and they all bought wheat locally.
Naresh Ghai, president of Punjab Flour Mills Association, said this year, only flour mills or other wheat processing units were buying wheat in the mandis here.
“Earlier, mills would buy the wheat from UP, but now the high cost of freight to transport the wheat to Punjab would make it unviable,” he added.
In Rajpura, Mahinder Krishan Chand Arora, a commission agent, said though initially they got queries from several food processing MNCs, they withdrew on getting the news of grains having lustre loss.
It was expected that private purchase would be high because of global wheat scarcity, but ban on export proved to be a dampener
This article has been republished from The Tribune