1. Agriculture World

Wettest Monsoon in 25 Years Could Lift India’s Wheat Production to Record in 2020

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia

Highlighting the growing agriculture scenario of India, Industry officials told Reuters that India's wheat production could jump to a second consecutive annual record in 2020 as the wettest monsoon in 25 years is set to help farmers in expanding the area under the winter-sown crop while also boosting yields.

“The area under wheat and yields would rise due to good rainfall. We can certainly produce more than last year's record production,” said Gyanendra Singh, director at the state-run Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research.

On the other hand, it is also predicted that the higher production may add to India's already swelling inventories, potentially forcing the world's second-biggest wheat producer to ramp up procurement of the grain from farmers and provide incentives for overseas sales to support local prices.

As per reports, India grew 102.19 million tonnes of wheat in 2019 while the country received monsoon rains during the June-September season that were 10% above average and the rainfall continued during October and November, increasing soil moisture levels required for crop sowing.

According to government data, rainfall also played a key role and lifted the water level in India's key reservoirs to 86 percent of capacity compared to 61 percent a year ago and a 10-year average of 64 percent. Only one wheat crop is grown in India each year, with planting starting in late October and harvesting in March.

Harish Galipelli, head of commodities and currencies at Inditrade Derivatives & Commodities in Mumbai said, “Farmers are inclined to expand the area under wheat as its prices are more stable than any other crop due to government buying.”

As per reports, the national capital sets minimum support prices (MSP) for nearly two dozen crops to set a benchmark, but state agencies mainly buy rice and wheat at those prices. For 2020, India has lifted the price at which it buys locally produced new-season wheat by 4.6 percent to Rs 19,250 ($268.22) a tonne. “After the hike in MSP, wheat planting has become even more attractive for farmers,” Galipelli said.

For the time being, dealers say wheat exports from India next year would be difficult because of their comparatively high cost.

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