FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops and Shortages  - 02/05 - INDIA (9 February)

INDIA (9 February)

The tsunami of 26 December 2004 caused over 10 700 deaths with thousands more missing and affected some 2.731 million people. The states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in India’s south-east coast and the Andaman and Nicobar islands were the worst affected areas. At least 140 000 people, mostly from fishing families, are in relief centres established by the Government.

Fishing communities have borne the brunt of the damage and losses of livelihood. The fishery and aquaculture sectors in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and in the islands of Andaman and Nicobar have suffered major damages. Many fishing villages in these areas have lost human life, fishing boats, hatchery facilities, shelters and other property. In Andhra Pradesh alone, which normally produces some 25-30 percent of India’s total seafood exports, 2 000 fishing boats were estimated lost, some 300 000 fishers were rendered jobless and some 400 fish tanks were damaged.

Over 134 000 hectares of paddy crop land in Tamil Nadu (mostly in Nagapattinam district) were severely affected.

The Government of India, in collaboration with the States/Union Territories, mounted massive relief and rescue operations. The first phase of relief and rescue operations is over and the GoI is now preparing a comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery programme under the coordinating authority of the Planning Commission. The Government did not appeal for external assistance for the emergency relief phase, but has requested the UN System, the World Bank and ADB to provide support and mobilize resources for the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.

The main rabi (winter) crop currently in the ground is wheat, which is planted in the period October to December, for harvest in March-April. The area under cultivation is reported to marginally lower than the previous year due to crop diversification towards oilseeds. Met department has declared central India (Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh), which are major wheat producers, rain-deficit this winter. In general, rainfall was below normal in many growing areas, with 39.6 percent of wheat areas receiving below-average rainfall up to 2 February. Despite the unfavourable conditions so far, the government is expecting 2005 wheat output to reach 75 million tonnes, some 3 million tonnes higher than 2004. The Food Corporation of India and State Government agencies expect to procure 18 million tonnes of wheat for the Public Distribution System during the coming marketing year.

The latest estimate for 2004 kharif (monsoon) rice production is put at 85 million tonnes, some 2 million tonnes, or 2 percent below 2003, reflecting the negative impact of both floods and droughts during growing stage. Overall 2004 cereal output (milled basis) is estimated at 190.5 million tonnes, some 3.7 million tonnes or 2 percent up on the previous year.

India was one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat and rice in 2003/04 and exported 5 million tonnes of wheat and 2.6 million tonnes of rice. The export levels in 2004/05 are forecast to be much lower due to tight grain stocks.