Will India become a net importer of wheat?
Wheat acreage surges 25% from last year; but weather remains a concern
Wheat price rise normal; have enough stocks to meet demand: Govt
New wheat crop trickles in mandis; prices above MSP, say traders
Govt says wheat crop condition 'normal' so far; plans to procure 34.1 mt
Over the next five to six days, nearly all parts of the country — except the West coast of India — are expected to experience fairly widespread light to moderate rain, hailstorm, and thunderstorm, informed weathermen. These weather phenomena will be under the influence of back-to-back cyclonic circulations that will bring humid winds from the seas that surround India — the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
Due to weather conditions, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its latest release advised farmers to harvest the matured mustard, chickpea, and vegetables in the North, West, and Central India at the earliest and store them in safe places.
For horticulture crops like banana, the Met advised farmers to provide support to banana bunches with bamboo sticks or polypropylene sticks, and staking to newly planted vegetables or creeper vegetables. For grapes, it said farmers should use skirting bags or aluminium-coated paper for grape bunches in Madhya Maharashtra to protect from rain.
It strictly warned farmers to avoid any kind of irrigation and chemical sprays.
“This will be the season’s first prolonged pre-monsoon activity that will be fairly widespread, except perhaps in the West coast of India,” Mahesh Palawat, vice-president, meteorology and climate change, Skymet, told Business Standard.
He said the main reason for the fairly widespread rain and hailstorms across India is two back-to-back cyclonic circulations — first, coming from Rajasthan, and second, from Telangana and North Interior Karnataka bringing humid winds from both the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
“This system will gradually move towards Northeast India and weaken thereafter,” said Palawat.
According to the IMD, widespread rainfall, thunderstorm, and hailstorm are expected over interior parts of Maharashtra, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh (MP) from March 15-19, while over Northeast India, it is expected to happen over March 15-19.
Over East India, rainfall might happen from March 16-20, while in the North and Himalayan Regions, it might happen around March 17-19.
“For crops that are about to be harvested, sudden rain and hailstorms could be damaging. For crops already harvested, proper storage needs to be ensured,” said traders.
In a related development, sources said an estimated 1.5-1.6 million farmers have registered for selling wheat through the official procurement channels this year in MP — one of the biggest contributors of the grain to the central pool.
The state has targeted to procure around 7 million tonnes (mt) of wheat in the 2023-24 marketing season (that will start from April).
This is significantly higher than the 4.6 mt it had purchased last year.
Overall, the central government had targeted to procure around 34.1 mt of wheat from farmers in the coming season. This will be significantly higher than the actual procurement of around 19 mt in 2022-23 (FY23).
Sources said that the target is flexible and will depend upon the quantity of wheat that arrives at mandis (agricultural markets). The Centre had planned to procure around 43.3 mt of wheat in FY23, but the actual purchases were at around 19 mt due to high prices in the domestic market.
Meanwhile, on wheat crop, most experts and official sources said that so far, it is in excellent condition with negligible impact of any heatwave. The country is on course to produce a bumper 112 mt of wheat next year.
Another reason for this optimism is that around 75 per cent of the area under wheat crop in the major growing states of Haryana and Punjab has been sown early. While in MP and other places, harvesting has already started.
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First Published: Wed, March 15 2023. 20:40 IST
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