India to start wheat procurement in March.

India plans to begin wheat procurement on March 1st and aim to acquire 114 lakh metric tons (LMT) of wheat this season. While the administration is still hopeful that problems with the protesting farmers will be resolved before the procurement season, Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra indicated that more discussions are welcome and hinted that there may not have been clear communication of intentions to the demonstrators. The administration is expecting a record-breaking rabi harvest due to the early arrival of the wheat crop and the lack of an early warm weather forecast. Some states, like Uttar Pradesh, are trying to buy wheat as early as possible. To improve this process, farmer awareness workshops are being held to tell farmers about the available Minimum Support Price (MSP). The Secretary made it clear that allegations of dishonest people stockpiling rice in anticipation of strong export prices once the export prohibition expired—rather than a shortage—were the reason behind the prolongation of tax on parboiled rice. The Secretary noted the government’s encouragement of maize for ethanol production, even if she stated that there is no proposal to alter the limit for diverting sugar syrup for ethanol production. The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and distilleries are finalizing agreements, and on February 13, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was circulated with the goal of ensuring MSP and building an ecosystem that will support increased maize cultivation, crop diversification, and farmer welfare.

Source: CNBC