December 1, 2022


India expects bumper wheat harvest next year



India is expected to harvest a bumper wheat crop next year, thanks to soaring domestic prices and replenished soil moisture that has helped farmers in the country exceed 2021's planting, Deccan Herald reported.


Increased wheat production might persuade India to consider lifting a May ban on exporting wheat and ease worries about persistently high retail inflation.


Although wheat production in India's traditional grain belts of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh has almost reached a plateau, growers are putting wheat into production on some fallow land in the country's western region, where farmers have historically grown pulse and oilseeds.


Nitin Gupta, vice president at Olam Agro India, said wheat prices are very attractive, adding that they can see a significant increase in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan, where farmers were able to plant wheat on barren land.


Domestic wheat prices are currently up 33% in 2022 to a record INR 29,000 (~US$356.36; INR 10 = US$0.12) per tonne, which is significantly more than the government-set purchasing price of INR 21,250 (~US$261.12).


Despite the ban on exports, wheat prices are on the rise, suggesting a much larger decline in this year's output.


In response to a sharp, sudden rise in temperatures that cut production even as exports increased to make up for the global shortfall brought on by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, India, the second-largest consumer of wheat in the world, banned the export of the staple.


India only produces one crop of wheat each year, which is harvested starting in March after being planted in October and November.


According to preliminary data released by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare, farmers have planted wheat on 15.3 million hectares since the start of the current sowing season on October 1. This is an increase of almost 11% from a year earlier.


Many farmers in Punjab and Haryana chose to plant earlier than usual because they thought the early-sown varieties would be ready for harvest before the temperatures typically rise in late March and early April, farmer Ramandeep Singh Mann said.


Mann said out of 3.5 million hectares in Punjab, farmers have already planted wheat on 2.9 to 3.0 million hectares.


Farmers are also choosing better wheat varieties to profit from higher prices, such as Lokwan and Sharbati, the premium grades that yield higher returns.


Rajesh Paharia Jain, a trader based in New Delhi, said the amount of wheat planted has increased, but the crop will need cooler temperatures in the coming weeks.


He said when the crop ripens in March and April, the weather must continue to be favorable.


-      Deccan Herald

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