INDIA (10 February)
In India, the sowing of the winter wheat crop for harvest in 2004 has been completed. The area planted has been estimated at least 700 000 hectares higher than last year’s 25.3 million hectares, obviously a recovery from last year’s drought-affected reduced plantings. Most of the increase in planted areas has been in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The rabi crop is expected to be better this year as soil moisture levels have increased after good monsoon rains that lasted from June to September. The cool temperatures and winter rains are providing favourable growing conditions for wheat.
The estimate of 2003 maize output in India has been increased by 1.7 million tonnes to 14.7 million tonnes. This is 32.3 percent higher compared with the drought-reduced output in 2002 and 25.3 percent above the average of the previous five years, and reflects a combination of larger planted area and favourable rainfall.