March 25, 2015


10% drop in Indian wheat procurements due to rain



Unseasonal rains in March have affected wheat procurements in India, and the Food Corporation of India (FCI) expects a 10% drop of such, the Economic Times reported.


Adverse weather effects occurred during February 28 to March 16 across north, northwest and central India, flattening and discolouring wheat crops at certain areas. As a result, 12.1 millihectares of crops are severely damaged, based on preliminary estimates of the agriculture ministry.


Together with other government organisations, the FCI, from April 1, will be obtaining 30 million tonnes for government schemes.


However, FCI is also facing a further fall of its share in wheat procurement as the Haryana government intends to procure grain on its own. This translates to a 12.61% decline in share for the 2014-15 period, compared to 18.86% in 2009-10.

Concerns have also lingered over the Madhya Pradesh government's inability to commence procurement due to rains.


"We expect delay and loss in production across other states too," said a FCI official.


He added that Gujarat's wheat have been affected by grain damages. The state procured only 50 tonnes of wheat.


Punjab and Haryana's wheat procurement will slid by over one million tonnes, the official revealed. The figures are below initial targets of 12 million tonnes for Punjab, and seven million tonnes for Haryana.


Madhya Pradesh's wheat marketing year of 2015-16 starts on March 18, and April 1 for Punjab, Haryana and other states. By June, procurements are expected to conclude.


There's a silver lining for one rain-affected state; Uttar Pradesh had suffered under 7.5 millihectares of wheat damages – and may still see an increased procurement of three millihectares over a previous record of 0.6 millihectares.


According to FCI officials, all procurements in that state will be conducted by state government agencies.


In the meanwhile, private players and certain states are not expected to procure wheat from eastern states in the country, officials in FCI and the food ministry said.

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