New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) Roller Flour Millers' Federation of India (RFMFI) on Thursday said prices of wheat and wheat flour (atta) have come down by Rs 6-8 per kg in the last two months, following the government's decision to sell grain in the open market.
The association said the wheat production is estimated at around 106-110 million tonnes in 2022-23 crop year.
It also demanded that the export ban on wheat and wheat products, including atta (wheat flour), maida (fine wheat flour) and suji (semolina) should continue during the 2023-24 fiscal, according to a statement.
RFMFI noted that the government's decision to launch Open Market Sales Scheme (OMSS) on January 25 has resulted in a reduction in prices of wheat and wheat products by Rs 600-800 per quintal pan-India basis.
According to Roller Flour Millers' Federation, atta prices are currently hovering around Rs 2,600-3,000 per quintal vis-a-vis Rs 3,400-3,800 per quintal in the mid of January 2023.
The Centre is selling 50 lakh tonnes in the open market to cool down prices.
Out of this, 45 lakh tonnes are meant for bulk consumers, including flour millers.
The federation said that as per its initial findings of ongoing survey of wheat crop for the upcoming season, the area under the wheat cultivation is about 343.23 lakh hectares.
Despite early onset of summer, the federation expects a record harvest between 106 million tonnes and 110 million tonnes.
The record production in tandem with cooling off prices of wheat will enable the government to procure targeted 340 lakh tonnes of wheat, it said.
Due to lesser domestic availability of wheat in the market, domestic prices of wheat went up to Rs 3,200-3,600 a quintal in January 2023 before the Centre announced the OMSS to arrest the rising prices.
"Following wider consultations, the Government of India allowed the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to offload 50 tonnes of wheat from the central pool stock, despite marginal stocks in their hands, in the market to cool down the soaring wheat and atta prices," Pramod Kumar S, President of Roller Flour Millers' Federation of India, said.
The Centre's timely intervention has not only provided relief to poor, lower and middle classes but even to wide range of industries, including bread & biscuit, he added.
"Presently, the rate of wheat has come down to Rs 23-24 per kg in the whole sale market in states where in the wheat from central pool has been offloaded as per demand, whereas the prices are Rs 24-25/kg in states where in the process of offloading is going. Had it not been for the timely intervention of GoI, the prices would have reached to Rs 40-45/kg," Kumar said.
The flour millers are supporting government's objective by passing on the price cut, Navneet Chitlangia, Senior Vice President of the Federation, said.
"Our members have already passed on price cut," said Dharmendra Jain, Vice President of the federation.
Established in 1940, the federation has more than 2,500-plus members pan-India. PTI MJH SHW