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India’s wheat output seen at 106.41 mn tonnes, 4.41% less than last estimate

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NEW DELHI : India’s wheat production in the 2021-22 crop season ending June is officially projected to be around 106.41 million tonnes. The amount is 3.8 million tonnes less than last year’s output and 4.41 per cent lower than the previous estimate of 111.32 million tonnes, as heat waves in crop-growing stage crimped output.

According to the third advanced estimate released Thursday, overall food grains production across India was estimated to be 314.51 million tonnes, more than the 310.74 million tonnes of last year.

Gram production has been projected at 13.98 million tonnes, which is more than the 11.91 million tonnes of last year. Mustard output has been projected at 11.74 million tonnes in 2021-22, up from 10.21 million tonnes last year.

Latest data also showed that wheat procurement for the Central pool has reached around 18.1 million tonnes till May 18. This which means that since the Central government banned wheat exports on Saturday, it has managed to procure an additional 116,337 tonnes of wheat from farmers.

Wheat prices have dropped by almost Rs 80-100 per quintal across the country with prices in some mandis (traditional markets) of Madhya Pradesh dropping below the minimum support price of Rs 2015 per quintal for the first time in this season.

The Central government, weeks after Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi talked about ‘India feeding the world with its grains,’ last week banned all types of wheat exports to salvage its falling inventories.

Before the ban, Indian traders are believed to have contracted to export around 4 million tonnes of wheat in less than two month of the marketing year, of which around 1.2 million tonnes has been shipped out.

This is nearly 56 per cent of the total quantity of wheat exported from India in Fy-22.

Export demand from India has seen a surge this year due to shortage of wheat in the world markets because of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The decision to stem the flow of wheat for exports came after procurement for the 2022-23 season struggled to reach the revised target of 19.5 million tonnes.

This target was almost 56 per cent lower than the original procurement estimate of 44.4 million tonnes.

Procurement dropped as farmers sold their wheat to private traders lured by prices which were higher than the state mandated MSP of Rs 2015 per quintal.

Officials feared that an abnormally low level of stocks could keep flour prices high in the coming months as well as crimp the Centre’s option to intervene in the market to cool down flour rates.

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