Record cereal harvest in India, China: FAO

Record cereal harvest in India, China: FAO

New York: India and China have harvested record cereal crops this year with 4% increase in wheat output coming from India, the United Nations food agency has said in a report.

The report, released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), shows that the total paddy output in Asia this year was 580 million tonnes, slightly more than last year while maize production was recorded at 198.1 million tonnes, which too is marginally higher than previous year.

The aggregate wheat output is estimated at 207 million tonnes, a 4% rise over last year.

The FAO also reported favourable weather conditions so far for winter crops, including wheat, in major wheat producing countries in Asia. Also, the cultivable area under wheat is expected to rise in response of high prices, it said.

Despite somewhat rosy picture of the cereal production in Asia, the report speaks of continuing insecurity in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, North Korea and Timor-Leste and Mongolia, among others.

In India, the agency forecasts paddy production for this year at about 140 million tonnes, close to last year’s good harvest, while maize output is estimated at 15.5 million tonnes, some 2 million tonnes above last year.

Similarly, the country’s wheat output this year is pegged at 75 million tonnes, nearly 5 million tonnes more than 2006 and the five-year average.

As a result of the good yield, the country’s wheat imports in 2007-08 (April/March) has been revised down from 3 million tonnes to 2 million tonnes.