New Delhi: India, the world’s second-biggest grower of rice and wheat, harvested record crops after above average rainfall and better seeds boosted yields, likely helping the government curb the fastest inflation in more than 13 years.
Foodgrain production in the year ended 30 June likely rose to 230.7 million tonnes (mt), more than the 227.3mt estimated in April, farm secretary P.K. Mishra told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday.
“Distribution of better seeds yielded results,” Mishra said. “Higher minimum support prices also provided incentives to farmers to put in more efforts to increase production and productivity.”
A bigger harvest of wheat and rice is crucial to efforts by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government to rein in inflation before the general election next year. The government last year halted futures trading in wheat and lentils, and has since banned exports of edible oils, rice and corn to cool prices and boost supplies.
Wheat output climbed to 78.4mt, more than 76.8mt estimated in April and up from 75.8mt last year. Rice production reached a record 96.43mt and soya bean output rose to 9.99mt, the highest ever, compared with 8.85mt a year earlier.
India’s June-September monsoon rainfall last year was 5% more than average, boosting sowing of most crops. Rains this year will be 100% of the long period recorded between 1941-90, a level deemed normal, the weather office said 30 June.
Rainfall in July, which accounts for one-third of the rainy season, will be 98% of the average 293mm, the agency said.
Rough rice futures have surged 72% in the past year on the Chicago Board of Trade, threatening food security across Asia, where the grain is a staple. Leading suppliers including China, Vietnam, Egypt and India have banned exports to bolster domestic supplies of the cereal.
India’s corn output may reach a record 19.3mt, more than 18.54mt estimated in April, Mishra said.
Output of oilseeds including soya bean and peanut may rise to a record 28.82mt, more than 28.21mt estimated in April, he said. Oilseed harvests include 9.99mt of soya beans and 9.36mt of peanuts, the official said.
Sugar cane production dropped to 340.56mt from 344.23mt estimated in April, while cotton output reached a record 25.81 million bales, Mishra said. A bale in India weighs 170kg. Bloomberg