Wheat output set for a record high, sowing area crosses 34mn hectares | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Wheat output set for a record high, sowing area crosses 34mn hectares

By, New Delhi
Jan 20, 2024 07:16 AM IST

Higher wheat output will help put a lid on prices and could prompt the world’s second-biggest producer of the grain to lift a ban on exports of the staple

India’s winter-sown wheat output, battered by extreme weather in the past two years, could touch a record this spring as the area planted with the staple has expanded robustly and cold weather in the main producer states is likely to boost yields, officials said after the government released fresh acreage data on Friday.

On January 3, Food Corporation of India chairman and managing director Ashok KK Meena said that the country could harvest a record 114 million tonnes in the 2023-24 crop year provided weather conditions remained conducive (HT)
On January 3, Food Corporation of India chairman and managing director Ashok KK Meena said that the country could harvest a record 114 million tonnes in the 2023-24 crop year provided weather conditions remained conducive (HT)

The area under the main winter cereal on January 19 crossed 34 million hectares, a three-year-high, as sowing has been nearly complete in the country’s cereal belt of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, according to official data. The crop is sown in November and harvested in March.

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Higher wheat output will help put a lid on prices and could prompt the world’s second-biggest producer of the grain to lift a ban on exports of the staple. “Wheat has been covered in more area this year and we expect good production this year,” agriculture minister Arjun Munda told PTI separately.

On January 3, Food Corporation of India chairman and managing director Ashok KK Meena said that the country could harvest a record 114 million tonnes in the 2023-24 crop year provided weather conditions remained conducive. The country had prohibited exports in 2022 on lower output amid heatwaves. Production stood at a 100 million tonnes in 2022-23, compared to 107.7 million tonnes in the preceding year.

In the past two years, the country’s wheat crop has been roiled by early onset of summer and extreme weather, leading to high cereal prices averaging an annual 20%.

Wheat inventories at state-owned granaries have dropped to 19 million metric tons, the lowest in seven years, as the Union government sold about 6 million tonnes agencies to private players to cool the prices.

Taking steps to mitigate the impacts of climate crisis, cultivators in key food-bowl states have switched to heat-tolerant wheat varieties on a large scale this season, a change analysts attribute to growing awareness about changing weather patterns.

Following two consecutive years of heat waves and extreme weather, which shaved off cereal output and stoked prices, wheat-growers have planted a record 80% area under climate-resilient varieties that should help bolster the country’s food security impacted by adverse weather, according to a latest survey by the agriculture ministry.

“Our survey shows that in both Punjab and Haryana, 80% of the wheat area this year has been sown with climate-resilient and biofortified varieties,” said Gyanendra Singh, the director of the Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIBR). This year, the country’s wheat crop in all major states is in a robust condition, he said, adding that a cold wave sweeping parts of the north India will help to drive up yields.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

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