Monday 18 December 2023

The Impact of Weather Variability on Wheat Crop

#IndianFarmers #AgriculturalFeedback #WheatImport #ClimateResilientFarming #IndianAgricultureUpdate

In the last two years, the wheat crop has faced the wrath of unpredictable weather conditions. Wheat sowing has commenced across most states, with efforts underway to complete the sowing in states where it has lagged. India holds the top position in wheat production globally, and the country exports wheat to several nations. However, concerns have arisen due to the impact of weather fluctuations on wheat production in recent years.

In March 2023, temperatures soared to levels comparable to June and July, affecting the growth of wheat crops. Unexpected temperature spikes prevented the proper growth of the crop, leading to early ripening. This premature ripening significantly affected wheat production. Similarly, during the 2022 season, unseasonal rains posed a challenge when the time for wheat harvesting arrived, impacting the quality of the grains.

According to the central government, wheat buffer stocks in November amount to 210 million metric tons. The decrease in stocks is contributing to a rise in wheat prices. Despite government attempts to control prices, wheat is being made available in the open market, utilizing buffer stocks. This might lead to a depletion of wheat buffer stocks, raising concerns about the country's wheat supply.

In response to the situation, some political parties in various states have announced schemes for distributing free wheat and rice. Such decisions may further deplete wheat buffer stocks. Consequently, the country might face a wheat crisis, potentially necessitating wheat imports.

The wheat crop is at risk of drought, particularly with below-average rainfall recorded in October and continued erratic rainfall in November. The unseasonal rainfall combined with warm temperatures has adversely affected wheat sowing. Comparing the land under wheat cultivation in the first week of December to the previous year reveals a reduction of up to 4%. To manage the situation, the government had imposed a ban on the export of wheat, flour, and non-basmati rice earlier.

As the country faces these challenges, the government is attempting to strike a balance between stabilizing prices and ensuring food security. The potential decrease in wheat buffer stocks could force India to import wheat, a scenario reminiscent of 2016 when the country imported 5.75 million tons from Russia, Ukraine, and Australia. Import duties were temporarily reduced to zero at that time.

The current import duty stands at 40%, and the situation remains dependent on the monsoon. The government's response in the upcoming months will play a crucial role in determining the country's food security amid these challenges. Stay tuned for further updates on the evolving scenario in the agriculture sector. 

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#IndianFarmers #AgriculturalFeedback #WheatImport #ClimateResilientFarming #IndianAgricultureUpdate

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