India's wheat production is likely to fall by 4 per cent to 90 million tonnes this year assuming normal weather conditions, think tank National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) said today.
Wheat production stood at a record 93.9 million tonnes in 2011-12. Wheat is the main rabi (winter) crop. Its sowing is underway in most growing states across the country.
"Assuming normal weather conditions, 2013 wheat production is expected to remain at around 90 million tonnes (as against 93.9 million tonnes last year)," NCAER said in the second quarterly report on agricultural outlook.
Late monsoon season rains across most parts of the country should provide favourable planting conditions for the mostly irrigated rabi (winter) crops, which include wheat, small quantities of rice and coarse grains, pulses and oilseeds, it said.
The report said the drop in wheat output could be due to shift in acreage from wheat to other competing crops amid the possibility of a no or marginal rise in minimum support price (MSP) of wheat this year.
"Given the prevailing higher prices for oilseeds and pulses vis-a-vis wheat, the possibility of a no or marginal increase in the wheat support price for this year crop may prompt farmers in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to shift some area from wheat to less irrigation intensive crops," the report said.
However, in the major wheat producing states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, there may not be significant shift in acreage from wheat to other crops, it added.
Last year, wheat MSP was fixed at Rs 1,285 per quintal.
Besides wheat, the NCAER has estimated rice production in the rabi season to be around 13.5 million tonnes, pulses at 11.5 million tonnes and mustard seed at 7.5 million tonnes.
The report said the government is making special efforts to increase rabi production and offset losses of foodgrains production in kharif (summer).
According to NCAER, the country's total kharif foodgrains output is estimated to be 120 million tonnes this year, lower than 127.50 million tonnes in the year-ago period.
The projections, however, are slighly higher the government's estimate of 117.18 million tonnes.