December 1, 2008


Global farmers shun from wheat sowing amid falling prices


Higher inputs costs and falling global wheat prices may force some farmers to turn to other crops, International Grain Council (IGC), a London-based organisation, said.


However, according to IGC, there is no change in 2008 global production estimate of 683 million tonne, a rise of 73 million tonne from the 2007 figure. The total global wheat consumption is forecast to be less by one million tonne during 2008-9 at 650 million tonne.


Higher production in the EU is being offset by further reductions in Australia, where late rains are disrupting harvesting. While the wheat quality in several other countries has been affected by poor harvesting weather, prospects are also favourable in EU, Asia, western Russia and Ukraine.


In India, the target of raising the wheat area by one million hectares this year would be achieved, as a number of non-traditional wheat growing states like Bihar, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh would expand cultivation. The wheat acreage last year was around 28 million hectares in 2007.


According to India's ministry of agriculture figure, India's wheat production during 2007-08 was close to 77 million tonne against the previous year's 75.81 million tonne.
Wheat prices had touched record levels in the past one year in India and abroad and India had to import wheat to meet its needs this year.
However, this has not helped much as farmers this year may sow less wheat. In India the sowing operations have already started.
A new global report on grain outlook predicted global wheat sowing to go down by 1.6 per cent to 221.7 million hectare during 2008-9, according to Commodity Online.
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