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Modi Reviews Wheat Supply Situation; Asks Officials to Ensure Quality Norms for Exports

Modi during a review meeting directed the officials to maintain India's quality standards of agricultural products.

Kritika Madhukar
PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the review meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a review meeting on Thursday where he said that Indian wheat and other agricultural commodities must be of high quality to remain the world's standard source of food, implying that the government may not immediately halt wheat exports.

After the meeting, Modi was updated on India's wheat supply, stock, and exports. Later he called on government officials to assist farmers. According to an official release, he was also briefed on the influence of rising temperatures in March and April 2022 on agricultural production, procurement and export status, and current market rates that benefit farmers.

Top officials from the Prime Minister's Office and secretaries from the departments of food, public distribution, and agriculture attended the meeting.

Food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey told media reporters on Wednesday that India's wheat production in 2022-23 marketing is expected to fall by nearly 5.7 percent to 105 million tonnes from a previous estimate of 111.32 million tonnes, and official purchases are expected to halve to just 19.5 million tonnes.

He added that the country will not impose any export restrictions since year-end closing stocks are considered adequate after meeting all requirements.

Due to the early arrival of summer, Pandey said the agricultural ministry has lowered the wheat output estimates downwards to 105 million tonnes for the 2021-22 crop year from 111.3 million tonnes previously. In the crop year 2020-21, India produced 109.59 million tonnes of wheat (July-June).

Meanwhile, the food secretary stated that the government's wheat procurement is likely to drop to 19.5 million tonnes in the 2022-23 marketing year (April-March).

He said there will be a significant decrease from the previous year, due to a number of factors, such as elevated market rates of wheat in some states compared to the minimum support price (MSP), stocks held by farmers and traders in anticipation of further price increases, and lower production than estimated in some states.

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