Traders stock up wheat as price falls to Rs1,600 a quintal

With a surge in wheat delivery though the public distribution system (PDS) among the smart ration card-holders during the lockdown, wheat is selling at Rs 1,600-1,650 per quintal against the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,975, fixed for the 2021-2022 season. Private traders, particularly millers and cattle feed-makers, are making a brisk purchase of wheat from the market at Rs 1,600 per quintal and keeping the stock for future needs. This might impact the demand of wheat in the next rabi season when the traders will have to pay minimum Rs 1,975 plus market committee fee, Punjab Rural Development fund and commission to arhtiyas. In April this year, wheat was trading at Rs 2,200 per quintal. The current market price of wheat is 15 per cent below the MSP of Rs 1,925 per quintal offered by procurement agencies to farmers during the 2020-2021 rabi season. Sources attributed the fall in price mainly to a large number of smart ration card-holders selling the wheat they had received under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) during the past three months. Other than providing 30-kg wheat at a discounted price of Rs 2 per kg through the PDS, under the PMGKAY, every member of a family having smart card was distributed 15 kg wheat free this time. Under the AAY, every smart card-holder family was provided 5-kg wheat per member per month at Rs 2 per kg. This stock of six month makes to 30 kg per member. With an average family of four or five members getting 200-225 kg of wheat this time, its major portion was sold in the open market at the price ranging between Rs 1,400-Rs 1,500 per quintal, said sources in e Food and Supply Department. Wheat was sold in the open market at throwaway prices by the card-holders as many of them were rendered jobless due to the lockdown, said a senior functionary in the department.


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