India could hit a record wheat crop in 2023 as high domestic prices and replenishment of soil moisture encourage farmers to expand the area under this crop. This is reported by the Grain On-Line agency with reference to the Reuters agency.
A crop increase could prompt India, the second largest wheat producer, to lift its export ban.
Although wheat plantings in the traditional growing areas in the north of the country (Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh) have almost reached their maximum possible size, an increase is possible due to fallow lands in the west of the country. Farmers in western India traditionally grow pulses and oilseeds.
“Wheat prices are very attractive,” Nitin Gupta, vice president of Olam Agro India, told Reuters. “We may see a big jump in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan where farmers can plant wheat in the wastelands.”
Domestic Indian wheat prices jumped 33% in 2022 to a record 29,000 rupees ($355.19) per tonne, well above the government-set purchase price of 21,250 rupees.
The sharp rise in wheat prices occurred despite the ban on its export, which is associated with a reduction in the harvest.
In 2022, Indian wheat crops were affected by very hot weather in March and April. Yields were well below expectations.
Export demand, on the contrary, increased sharply in the spring due to a decrease in the representation of Black Sea wheat on the world market after the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.
In order to prevent shortages in the domestic market and contain price increases, the Indian government in May of this year banned the export of wheat.
Wheat sowing in India takes place in October and November, and harvesting begins in March.
According to preliminary data released by the Indian Ministry of Agriculture, farmers have planted 15.3 million hectares of wheat, which is almost 11% more than a year earlier.
In Punjab and Haryana, India’s “wheat belt,” many farmers have decided to push back sowing, believing it will be ready for harvest before temperatures begin to rise in late March/early April, the farmer said. Ramandeep Singh Mann.
“In Punjab, farmers have already planted wheat on 2.9-3.0 million hectares. Typically, 3.5 million hectares are devoted to wheat in this state,” Mann said. Thus, farmers have to sow 0.6-0.5 million hectares.
To capitalize on higher prices, farmers are choosing better varieties of wheat such as Lokwan and Sharbati, which bring in higher profits.
“Wheat acreage has increased, but a good harvest will require cooler temperatures in the coming weeks, and then the weather should remain favorable in March and April when the wheat is ripe,” said Rajesh Paharia Jain, a New Delhi-based trader.