India on track to have its largest wheat harvest ever
India is set for record wheat output in the current crop year, due to higher acreage, conducive weather, and fewer crop pest attacks, according to the chief of the Directorate of Wheat Research at Karnal, Gyanendra Pratap Singh.
He told the Economic Times that “Production of the food grain is likely to reach 115 million tons compared with 107 million tons in the previous year, looking at the crop position in major growing states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.”
The current crop year runs from July 2020 to June 2021, and wheat harvesting in the country is set to begin by the first week of March. According to Singh, there have been no reports this year of any crop diseases or pest attacks, and the current weather conditions will lead to higher yields.
Analysts say the bumper production in the rabi season (crops are sown in mid-November and harvested in April/May) and higher carryover stock by government procurement agencies should ease pressure on households. Over the last two weeks, wheat flour manufacturers have reduced prices by up to 12 percent.
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“With expectation of a higher crop over the previous year, there is pressure on the market and prices remain low, which we are passing on to the consumers. This is also helping us to push sales in the last quarter,” said Angshu Mallick, deputy chief executive of Adani Wilmar.
“In the long run, prices will see another fall in May-June after the crop is harvested and the grain dried of its moisture content,” added Udit Jain of the Delhi-based Rajdhani Group.
Wheat production in India has been increasing steadily since 2016-17. Government data showed the acreage under wheat has increased by three percent over the previous year, to 34.63 million hectares.
According to Prerana Desai, the head of rural and corporate services research at Edelweiss, higher production of the food grain can make India a competitive player in the export market, as well as ensuring stable domestic prices. Desai, however, warned that a sudden increase in temperature or rainfall during the harvest period in March and April could impact the crop position.
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