The effect of the Russia-Ukraine war has upped the prices of Indian wheat for private players in the Punjab wheat market. The two countries, locked in a war that has dragged on for over a month, have been the biggest exporters of wheat in the international market and the ongoing crisis has now pushed the indigenous private companies to procure the grain from the western state.
Given its geographical location, Punjab was never seen as a logistical option for multinational food companies to buy wheat from. However, with hands tied, the firms are now paying a higher value than the Minimum Support Price (MSP) to procure the grain from the farmers.
According to a report by NDTV, wheat purchases by private players reached nearly 1 lakh tonnes within two weeks of the current rabi, or winter crop, marketing season that opened on April 1 -- accounting for 6 per cent of the total wheat purchases till Wednesday. Government agencies including Punsup, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, Markfed and the Food Corporation of India among others have purchased nearly 16.8 lakh tonnes of wheat. On the contrary, private players have bought 99,637 tonnes, offering ₹ 2,050 per quintal, higher than the MSP of ₹ 2,015, stated the report.
As per a statement by the Punjab government, the total wheat purchases have also broken a 15-year record.
On the other hand, Punjab has been criticised by the food grain business owners as the market fee being charged by it adds an additional cost of Rs 120 per quintal.