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Reference Date: 24-July-2014


  1. Prospects for the 2014 main season rice and maize crops improved with recent rains

  2. Cereal exports decreased in 2013/14 marketing year (April/March)

  3. Rice and wheat prices generally stable in June but above their year-earlier levels in several markets

  4. Food security concerns remain for the vulnerable groups of population due to high prices

Prospects for the 2014 main season rice and maize crops improved with recent rains

Planting of the 2014 main Kharif season crops, including rice and maize, is currently underway with significant delays due to below-average monsoon rains over the main producing areas in June and early July. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) the cumulative rainfall for the country as a whole from the first dekad of June to the first dekad of July has been 42 percent below the normal levels. Official estimates, as of 11 July, indicate that 8.6 million hectares have been placed under rice crop, some 21 percent below the area planted at the same time in 2013. However, rains resumed at a more normal pattern since mid-July over the main eastern and central crop-producing areas improving soil moisture and permitting rice transplanting operations to pick up. Assuming normal monsoon rains for the remainder of the season and taking into account continued Government support to the rice sector, FAO tentatively forecasts the 2014 aggregate rice production (including the ongoing 2014 main and the 2014/15 secondary seasons) at 157.5 million tonnes, slightly below the 2013 record output but 5 percent above the five-year average.

Early indications point also to a decrease in 2014 maize production to 22 million tonnes, as yields are projected to return to average, after record levels in 2013.

The 2014 Rabi (winter) wheat crop, harvested by June, is officially estimated at a record level of 95.9 million tonnes, up 3 percent from last year’s bumper output. This is the result of a 6 percent expansion in plantings and near-record yields reflecting adequate supplies of irrigation water, fertilizers and other inputs and generally favourable weather conditions.

Record 2013 aggregate cereal harvest estimated

The 2013 aggregate rice and maize productions were officially estimated at record levels of 159.4 million tonnes and 24.2 million tonnes respectively, marginally above the good 2012 outcome. The bumper aggregate cereal production for the second consecutive year reflect good monsoon rains and adequate supplies of subsidized agricultural inputs, including seeds, fertilizers and fuel.

Total cereal exports decreased in 2013/14 marketing year (April/March) but still the second highest on record

Cereal exports for the 2013/14 marketing year (April/March) are estimated at 20 million tonnes, some 9 percent below the all-time highs of the previous year but still the second highest on record. This good level of export reflects the bumper harvest in 2013 and large carryover stocks. India is expected to remain one of the world’s major rice exporters, with shipments of 10 million tonnes.

Rice and wheat prices generally stable

The retail rice prices in June remained generally stable in most markets of the country, as the downward pressure from the record 2014 secondary season harvest, completed in early June, was offset by the Government’s ongoing procurement programme, which started in October 2013 and will last until September 2014 and targets to procure 34.5 million tonnes of rice. In an attempt to stabilize rice prices, the Government approved, in mid-June, the release of 5 million tonnes of rice from state inventories. Prices of wheat remained stable or decreased in some markets, with improved supplies from the record 2014 harvest, completed in May. However, further price decreases were offset by large Government procurement purchases, ongoing since April at a higher Minimum Support Price (MSP) compared to the previous season.

According to the Central Statistics Office the year-on-year inflation was recorded at 7.3 percent in June 2014.

Food security concerns remain for the vulnerable groups of population due to high prices

The overall food security in India is considered to be satisfactory given the recent good cereal harvest, ample food stocks and the provision of highly subsidized rice and wheat through distribution programmes, especially for the below-poverty line families under the National Food Security Act. Under the “Food Security Bill” approved on 12 September 2013, about 75 percent of the rural and 50 percent of the urban population are entitled to receive subsidized food grains, including rice at INR 3 per kg, wheat at INR 2 per kg and coarse grains at INR 1 per kg. However, the relatively high prices of primary commodities in several markets are affecting the food security of the population with low incomes constraining their access to food.

Relevant links:
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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