NEW DELHI : The Centre is in talks with Rajasthan to increase procurement of wheat and coarse grains, a government official said, seeking anonymity.
At present, Rajasthan buys oilseeds and pulses in larger quantities than it does wheat and coarse grains. The centre seeks to improve wheat procurement and encourage millet consumption by running the procurement drive in collaboration with state and central agencies. “Historically, the state is not very forthcoming about procurement operations. It purchases oilseeds and pulses in bulk, but procuring wheat and coarse grains is not substantial despite significant production,” the official said.
As per the latest edition of the annual Agricultural Statistics at a Glance report, Rajasthan, a significant contributor to India’s agricultural output, yielded 9.48 million tonnes of wheat across 2.58 million hectares in FY22. As the leading producer of Bajra, it contributed 3.75 million tonnes to the total coarse cereal production of 7.07 million tonnes from 3.74 million hectares. It harvested 4 million tonnes of pulses and 8.4 million tonnes of oilseeds in the fiscal year.
In the 2021-22 crop year, foodgrain production in the state was at 21.05 million tonnes, or 11.3% of the country’s total output, from an area of 14.71 million hectares. “Paddy in Rajasthan is not as big as in Punjab and Haryana. We are not inclined to growing water-guzzling crops in a desert region. So, we don’t expect rice procurement from there,” he added. While rice procurement in Rajasthan is zero, the centre could procure about 438,000 tonnes of wheat in the FY24 Rabi marketing season, a huge jump from 10,000 tonnes in FY23, 2.3 million tonnes in FY22 and 2.2 million tonnes in FY21.
“Right now, they are also busy with elections. So, they should carefully be thinking about wheat. We would like to push very hard this time to increase procurement in those states that don’t do it, including Rajasthan,” the official said. “While Rajasthan can procure wheat and coarse cereals, it focuses more on oilseeds and pulses. The state grows a sizeable quantity of wheat and millets, especially Bajra, which has huge procurement potential. So, this year, we will try with state government and central agencies. For wheat, we initiated an outreach programme and conversation with Rajasthan.”