FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 01/00 - INDIA (1 February)
INDIA (1 February)
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 the 1999/2000 crop is reported to have decreased somewhat compared to the previous year. In main producing areas in the north, recent rains improved prospects, though in general rainfall was below normal in many growing areas, with 37 percent of wheat area receiving below-average rainfall up to the end of January, compared to almost none last year. Rainfall during the rabi season, however, is less critical than during the monsoon season, as many areas rely on irrigation. Temperatures have been generally favourable. Wheat is the major component of the winter crop and contributes around 40 percent to national food grain production. In 1999 a record 73 million tonnes were produced. The area under rabi rice, in contrast, has declined by around 10 percent to 1.6 million hectares compared to 1.8 million hectares last year.
The latest estimate for 1999/2000 kharif (monsoon) rice production is put at 74.8 million tonnes (milled) some 3 million tonnes, or 4 percent above 1998. Overall 1998/99 food grain production was a record 202.5 million tonnes, including pulses.
The overall food situation in the country is satisfactory with large Government stocks of cereals. The Food Corporation of India (FCI), is estimated to have around 17 million tonnes of wheat in stock at the beginning of January 2000, compared to a minimum buffer requirement of around 8 million tonnes for this time of the year. The Government announced recently that the target for wheat procurement for the 2000/2001 marketing year, from April, has been set at 15 million tonnes, compared to an estimated 14 million tonnes which is likely to be procured during the current 1999/00 year. At the beginning of December last year the Government imposed a 50 percent levy to restrict cheaper wheat imports.