A report by Reuters in late April had it that wheat procurement had been 19.5 million tonnes as on April 26. Last year, the amount at that time had been more than 18.8 million tonnes.
The HT report thus indicates that significant amount of wheat has been procured in May.
This is a year in which rain and hail in the months of March and April had given rise to serious concerns over the wheat harvest. The government had to ease procurement norms to help farmers.
As Siraj Hussain noted in his analysis for The Wire in early May, last year too saw wheat production get affected. The heat wave of March 2022 resulted in lower productivity, due to which the overall wheat procurement was only 187.9 lakh tonnes, much lower than the allocation for PDS and welfare schemes.
HT‘s analysis had it that weather factors could have shaved off 3-4 million tonnes of output from the 112 million tonnes expected by the government. It claimed that the procurement this year was “sufficient” to cover all PDS programmes and leave a “surplus of about 6-7 million tonnes.”
An analysis by Himanshu on Mint, however, places India’s food security questions against the likelihood of a deficient monsoon due to El Niño conditions getting stronger. The piece analyses the effect of less rainfall not just on wheat but also rice, edible oils and other food crops.
The Wire earlier noted that Union agriculture secretary Manoj Ahuja had said that preparations must be in place “for the worst situation.”
“There are chances of less rains and there are chances that El Niño conditions might not occur. There should be complete preparedness at the state level,” Ahuja said.