The Centre on Monday said wheat procurement rose over 70 per cent to 292.52 lakh tonnes so far in the ongoing 2021-22 rabi marketing season, benefitting about 28.80 lakh farmers. State-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies are undertaking procurement operations at a minimum support price (MSP).

In the year-ago period, wheat procurement stood at 171.53 lakh tonnes.

This year, Haryana and Punjab switched from indirect payment of MSP to direct online transfers to farmers’ bank accounts following a central government direction.

“Wheat procurement is going on at a brisk pace in the procuring states/UTs of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other states with purchase of over 292.52 lakh tonne up to May 2, 2021,” the food ministry said in a statement.

Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh are three states that have contributed in a big way to the wheat procurement so far.

Wheat procurement in Punjab has reached 114.76 lakh tonnes, Haryana 80.55 lakh tonnes, and Madhya Pradesh 73.76 lakh tonnes up to May 2 of this marketing season, it said.

About 28.80 lakh wheat farmers have already been benefited from the ongoing procurement operations, it added.

With regard to MSP payment to farmers, the ministry said about Rs 17,495 crore in Punjab and around Rs 9268.24 crore in Haryana have been transferred directly into farmers’ account so far.

This is for the first time that the farmers of Punjab have started receiving payments directly into their bank accounts against the sale of their wheat crop, it added.

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