New Delhi [India], May 17 (ANI): The Centre on Sunday informed that it has decided to allow the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to procure wheat in Punjab and Haryana including the Union Territory of Chandigarh by relaxing the Fair and Average Quality (FAQ) of shrivelled and broken grains up to 18 per cent without any value cut.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on Sunday informed that this decision will reduce the hardship of farmers and avoid distress sale of wheat.
The state governments of Punjab and Haryana wrote to the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) seeking relaxation in uniform specifications of wheat for RMS 2022-23.
The limit of shrivelled and broken grains is 6 per cent and relaxation was sought for up to 20 per cent.
According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the Central teams were deputed to Punjab and Haryana from April to May 2022 to collect very large size samples from the Mandis and these were analysed in FCI labs.
The results indicated the presence of shrivelled and broken grains in varying percentages and beyond FAQ norms.
The emergence of shrivelled grains is a natural phenomenon appearing as a result of an extreme heatwave that enveloped the northern part of the country in the month of March.
These adverse weather conditions are beyond the control of the farmers and hence, they should not be penalized for such natural occurrences, the Ministry said in a press statement.
Accordingly, the change in the texture of the grain deserves to be sympathetically considered by the government to ease the hardship of farmers. Thus, suitable relaxation in FAQ norms would protect the interests of farmers and promote efficient procurement and distribution of food grains.
During the RMS 2021-22, wheat production was 1095 LMT and procurement was 433 LMT.
During RMS 2022-23, wheat production was estimated at 1113 LMT. But the early onset of Summer (by end of March 2022) resulted in shrivelled grains and the resultant drop in yield per acre in Punjab and Haryana.
The all-India procurement target has been revised to 195 LMT of wheat.
A similar decision was also taken in 2020-21 when FAQ norms were relaxed up to 16 per cent to protect the interest of the farmers. (ANI)