July 20, 2011


India Raises 2010-11 wheat, rice output estimates



India on Tuesday (Jul 19) had raised its estimates for wheat and rice production in the crop year ended June 30, likely easing supply worries and boosting chances that the government may allow more grain exports.


Wheat output hit a record 85.93 million tonnes while rice production rose to 95.32 million tonnes, government data showed. The previous estimate for wheat was 84.27 million tonnes and for rice was 94.11 million tonnes.


The total foodgrain output increased 2.5% over the previous estimate to 241.56 million tonnes in the last crop year.


"Sustained efforts to increase farm credit, higher minimum support price to farmers and better availability of seeds and fertilizers helped India achieve record foodgrain output in 2010-11," Farm Secretary P.K. Basu said.


Higher output will give more comfort to the government as it aims to push through a food security law, but it also poses worries over storage as granaries are choked. Traders say the only safety valve could be permitting some more exports, beyond a million tonnes of rice that was allowed last week by a ministerial panel.


According to latest estimates, output of pulses likely grew to a record 18.09 million tonnes.


India, the world's largest importer of pulses, may no longer need to buy the protein-rich staple in coming years as the country can lift its output to 20 million tonnes in the next five years, Basu said.


He said he was optimistic about next year's foodgrain crop as well, and that rice output could climb to as high as 102 million tonnes with the country's eastern rice-growing belt receiving good monsoon rains.


Output of oilseeds in 2010-11 was pegged at 31.10 million tonnes, up from 24.88 million tonnes the previous year, while cotton production is estimated to have jumped 38% to a record 33.43 million bales.


Corn output for 2010-11 is estimated to have risen 27% to 21.28 million tonnes.

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