New Delhi: India, the world’s second biggest wheat consumer, may buy as much as 19 million tonnes (mt) of the grain from farmers this year, reducing the pressure to import the commodity for a third year.
Food Corporation of India, the nation’s biggest buyer of foodgrain, and other state agencies have bought 8.62mt from farmers so far this year, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said at a conference on Wednesday. The government had targeted to purchase 15mt from farmers this year. “There is no question of imports this year as of today,” he said. “I may be able to keep some reserves for next year.”
The South Asian nation imported 1.8mt of wheat last year at record prices to build stockpiles and curb rising food prices. India’s inflation rose 7.14% to near a three-year high in the week ended 5 April from a year earlier. Prices reached a record $13.495 (Rs539.80) on 27 February, and are up 74% from a year earlier.
India’s wheat output may climb to a record 76.8mt in the year to June, more than the 74.8mt estimated in February and up from 75.8mt last year, agriculture secretary P.K. Mishra said on Tuesday.