Rains hit wheat farmers of Punjab

Non-procurement by govt adds to woes
Last Updated 19 April 2014, 20:14 IST

Untimely rains in the northern region has hit wheat harvesting in Punjab with farmers apprehending yield loss because of inclement weather conditions.

With crop harvesting already getting delayed by more than 10 days, wheat procurement in the state has reached just 4.30 lakh tonnes mark, about 75 per cent less than what it was in the corresponding period of last season.

Wheat growers at several areas have even complained of non-procurement of crop by government agencies, citing higher moisture content.

Rains accompanied by strong winds lashed several parts of Punjab and adjoining areas last night and caused damage to wheat crop in Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Amritsar districts, an official of Punjab Agriculture department said here on Saturday.

“Farmers have complained of lodging in several fields in Punjab due to rain and strong winds,” the official added. The term lodging refers to a crop falling flat on the ground due to heavy rain and winds, which causes yield loss in crop.

Inclement weather has also forced farmers to suspend wheat harvesting across the state as it becomes difficult to harvest wet crop either through combine or manual harvester.
“Rains have affected wheat harvesting across Punjab which will delay crop arrivals in grain markets,” an official of Food Corporation of India said.

So far, 4.30 lakh tonnes of wheat has been procured by government agencies for the central pool as against 19.5 lakh tonnes procured in the corresponding period of last season, he said, adding that rains would also lead to higher moisture content in crop.
An FCI official also said that moisture content in wheat has been higher than the specified limit of 12 per cent. Punjab is eyeing 115 lakh tonnes of wheat procurement in the ongoing rabi marketing season.

Meanwhile, farmers at various grain markets are complaining of non-procurement of wheat by government-owned procurement agencies.

In Sangrur, farmers even blocked traffic to express their anger against non-procurement of wheat crop.

They have also complained of inadequate storage facilities at grain markets for protecting the piles of wheat grains from rains.

Meanwhile, over 20.32 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of wheat has arrived in various mandis of Haryana so far during the current procurement season.

While stating this here on Saturday, a spokesman of the Food and Supplies Department said the government agencies procured 20,32,708 MT of wheat whereas 113 MT was purchased by traders.

He said so far Hafed has purchased the highest amount of more than 6.30 lakh MT of wheat, Food and Supplies Department (over 6.21 lakh MT).

Moreover, Food Corporation of India purchased over 3.28 lakh MT, followed by Haryana Warehousing Corporation (over 2.37 lakh MT), Agro Industries Corporation (over 1.70 lakh MT) and CONFED has procured 45,472 MT of wheat during current procurement season.

(Published 19 April 2014, 20:14 IST)

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