The Centre has decided to allow Food Corporation of India to procure wheat in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh for central pool by relaxing the Fair Average Quality- FAQ norms of shrivelled and broken grains. It has relaxed the FAQ norms of such grains upto 18 percent without any value cut. The decision will reduce the hardship of farmers and avoid distress sale of wheat.

The state governments of Punjab and Haryana wrote to the Department of Food and Public Distribution seeking relaxation in Uniform Specifications of Wheat for Rabi Marketing Season 2022-23. The limit of shrivelled and broken grains is 6 percent and relaxation was sought up to 20 per cent. Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in a statement said that the emergence of shrivelled grains is a natural phenomenon appearing as a result of an extreme heatwave that enveloped the northern part of the country in the month of March. These adverse weather conditions are beyond the control of the farmers and hence, they should not be penalized for such natural occurrences.

The Ministry said, accordingly, that the change in the texture of the grain deserves to be sympathetically considered by government to ease the hardship of farmers. It added that the suitable relaxation in fair average quality norms would protect the interests of farmers and promote efficient procurement and distribution of food grains.