New Delhi: The US Department of Agriculture has pegged India’s wheat production at a record 79 million tonnes this year, about 1.2 million tonnes higher than the Indian government’s estimate of 77.78 million tonnes.
“India is heading for back-to-back record wheat harvest, aided by a marginal increase in planted area and near optimal growing condition so far,” the USDA said in its latest report.
The Department has forecast wheat production at 79 million tonnes in 2009 from an acreage of 28.4 million hectares, compared with the government’s revised estimate of 78.6 million tonnes from 28.2 million hectares last year.
According to the Indian government’s second advance estimate, released last month, the country’s wheat output this year is projected at 77.78 million tonnes, which the USDA said “is likely to be revised upward later”.
The Department noted that although the Indian government announced the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat too late to influence farmers’ planting decision, last year’s higher MSP itself provided an impetus to planting.
“Wheat planting was mostly on time supported by favourable soil moisture conditions following normal monsoon rains,” the report said.
The USDA, however, has cautioned that despite favourable conditions so far, factors such as “an early or sudden rise in temperature or rains and hail at harvest time” could adversely affect the wheat output as well as its quality.