New Delhi, Jan 27 (PTI) State-owned FCI, which plans to sell 25 lakh tonne of wheat to bulk consumers, on Friday said that it will start a weekly e-auctioning from February 1 at a reserve price of Rs 2,350 per quintal plus freight cost.
On Wednesday, the government announced plans to sell 30 lakh tonne of wheat in the open market from its buffer stock under the Open Sale Market Scheme (OMSS) in order to check rising wheat and wheat flour prices.
Out of 30 lakh tonne, Food Corporation of India (FCI) will sell 25 lakh tonne to bulk consumers like flour millers through e-auction, 2 lakh tonne will be given to states/Union territories and 3 lakh tonne to institutions and state-PSUs at concessional rates for converting wheat into wheat flour and then sell at not more than Rs 29.50 per kg.
Addressing a press conference, FCI Chairman and Managing Director Ashok K Meena said: "The tenders would be up today, and the e-auction will take place on Wednesday".
The auction will be held weekly on every Wednesday. The first auction will take place on February 1 and will continue till March 15, when the new crop will arrive, he said.
Wheat will be offered at a reserve price of Rs 2,350 per quintal plus freight charges. A single buyer can quote for a maximum quantity of up to 3,000 tonne and a minimum of 10 tonne, he noted.
"We hope small traders and small flour mill owners will take this opportunity," Meena said.
Regional offices have been directed not only to float the tenders for the e-auction of wheat but also encourage local flour millers, traders and wheat product makers to register themselves on the FCI platform so that they can participate in the e-auction, he added.
According to the FCI chief, the wheat stock is available across the country, and all the states will be able to provide the stock.
About 5 lakh tonne each will be offered in Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, 4 lakh tonne in Maharashtra, 2.5 lakh tonne in Rajasthan, 1.55 lakh tonne in Bihar, 1.25 lakh tonne in West Bengal and 1 lakh tonne in Haryana, he said.
He also said the reserve price fixed for wheat is equal to the acquisition cost and is just below the economic cost of Rs 2,654 per quintal.
Initially, the old stock will be offered for sale and the new crop will be sold depending on the demand, he added.
FCI, the government's nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrains, had around 156.96 lakh tonne of wheat as of January 26 in the buffer stock.
On April 1, the country would have a wheat stock of 96 lakh tonne, just above the buffer norm requirement of 75 lakh tonne.
Under the OMSS policy, the government allows FCI to sell food grains, especially wheat and rice, at pre-determined prices in the open market from time to time to bulk consumers and private traders.
The purpose is to boost the supply during the lean season and moderate the general open market prices.
The Centre had banned wheat exports in May last year to control prices, after a slight fall in domestic production and a sharp decline in the FCI's procurement for the central pool.
India's wheat production fell to 106.84 million tonne in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) from 109.59 million tonne in the previous year due to heat waves in a few growing states.
The procurement fell sharply to 19 million tonne this year from around 43 million tonne last year.
The area under coverage for wheat crops in the current rabi (winter-sown) season is slightly higher.
The procurement of new wheat crops would commence on March 15. PTI LUX MJH LUX BAL BAL