Flour millers urge Govt to sell wheat in open market to ease prices
The continuous rise in wheat and aata prices, which have moved up 7-8% in the last fortnight, has compounded the worries of flour millers who are already dealing with a drop in arrivals. They are now demanding that the government sell wheat in the open market to control prices.
"We have not seen such an increase in prices in the past. The only way for the government to control the rising prices is to announce Open Market Sale SchemeThis will force those hoarding wheat to come to the market," said Sanjay Puri, a flour miller in north India.
Millers across the country have said there is a sharp rise in prices in the past 2 weeks. The price of milling wheat in Mumbai has increased by ?2.5-3/kg during the past 10-15 days touching ?26/kg. Sanjay Jain Paharia, a wheat exporter from North India, said wheat prices have increased by ?2/kg to hit ?25/kg at Kandla.
The Food Corporation of India's procurement has fallen 56% till July 31 to 18.79 million metric tonnes of wheat in the ongoing rabi marketing season against 43.34 million metric tonnes in the previous year as a severe heat wave slashed production. However, the government has said the country has sufficient stock to meet domestic requirement.
"There is a huge disconnect between the figures about government stock and trade estimates. The availability of wheat in the open market has been reducing day by day. It is hard to bulk purchase quality wheat due to scarcity," said Dhaval Meghpara, director, Shree Vanraj Besan Mill.
Another reason millers are worried is that there are still seven more months for the arrival of the new domestic crop. "The price rise and supply contraction that we are seeing in July used to take place after October-November," said Ajay Goel, a Mumbai-based flour miller and exporter.