Trans­port and Labour Short­age Hits Wheat Lift­ing in Pun­jab, Haryana

The Economic Times - - Economy - Par­shant.Krar@ times­group.com

Chandi­garh: State pro­cure­ment agen­cies are strug­gling to lift wheat from the man­dis in Pun­jab and Haryana due to short­age of trans­port and labour fol­low­ing a spike in ar­rival. This has sparked con­cern among farm­ers who are wait­ing to sell off their pro­duce to start the kharif sea­son. “This year the pro­cure­ment pe­riod has shrunk to 10-15 days from 20-25 days in the past as the late ma­tu­rity of crop has caused jump in ar­rival of the grain,” SS Prasad, Haryana’s ad­di­tional chief sec­re­tary-food and sup­plies told ET.

Prasad blamed the Cen­tre’s rule not to hire trucks that are more than 10 years old for part of the prob­lem. How­ever, he said, “The pro­cure­ment process is likely to stream­line in com­ing days.”

Apart from the Food Cor­po­ra­tion of In­dia, state agen­cies in­clud­ing Food and Sup­plies De­part­ment, HAFED, Haryana Agro In­dus­tries Cor­po­ra­tion and Haryana Ware­hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion are en­gaged in pro­cure­ment of food grains.

In Pun­jab, the state agen­cies Pun­grain, Mark­fed, PUN­SUP, Pun­jab State Ware­hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion and Pun­jab Agro Food Grains Cor­po­ra­tion pro­cure grain for the pub­lic dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem. High level of mech­a­ni­sa­tion, es­pe­cially use of com­bine har­vesters, has also re­sulted in glut in ar­rival of wheat in the mar­ket, Sat­want Singh Jo­hal, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Pun­grain said. “This year the wheat crop is ex­pected to be more than the last year but log­ging in some ar­eas has cur­tailed pos­si­bil­ity of bumper out­put,” he said.

De­spite scanty rains in rabi sea­son, the ce­real bowl states of Pun­jab and Haryana are likely to pro­vide more wheat for the pub­lic dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem than they did last year. Wheat har­vest­ing is likely to pick up by the next week in Pun­jab and Haryana, which pro­vided 104.44 lakh tonnes and 67.78 lakh tonnes wheat re­spec­tively in 2015-16 rabi sea­son. “The qual­ity of grain is ex­pected to be bet­ter than that last year as tem­per­a­ture had dropped dur­ing the fi­nal stage of ma­tu­rity,” said Indu Sharma, for­mer head of the Direc­torate of Wheat and Bar­ley Re­search.

Glut in ar­rivals com­pound the prob­lem for state pro­cure­ment agen­cies

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