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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 24-August-2016


  1. Cereal production to rebound in 2016

  2. Total cereal exports in 2016/17 forecast close to last year’s reduced level

  3. Rice prices rose marginally in July, while those of wheat were stable

Cereal production to rebound in 2016

Planting of the 2016 main Kharif season crops, mostly rice and maize, started in June and will continue until the end of August. After a slow onset, the monsoon rains improved over large parts of the country from late June, benefitting planting activities and early crop development. Official estimates indicate that, as of 19 August, 52.66 million hectares had been put under main season cereals, up 5 percent from the progress a year earlier. Excessive precipitation since July triggered localized floods and landslides in northeastern parts of the country, hitting the states of Assam, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh the most. Although severe localized crop losses are likely in the most affected areas, the overall impact on the 2016 main season cereals is expected to be limited. Given continued Government support to the rice sector and assuming normal growing conditions for the remainder of the season, FAO forecasts the 2016 aggregate paddy production at 159 million tonnes. This would be a 3 percent recovery from last year’s reduced output, affected by a poor monsoon performance. The 2016 maize output is also forecast to recover from last year’s reduced level by 8 percent to 23.5 million tonnes, as both area and yields are expected to return to near‑normal levels.

Latest official estimate puts the 2016 Rabi (winter) wheat crop, harvested by June, at 93.5 million tonnes, up 8 percent from last year’s reduced output. A year‑on‑year contraction in plantings due to poor water supplies at sowing time was more than offset by record yields achieved as a result of favourable weather and improved irrigation water supplies during key stages of crop development.

Total cereal exports in 2016/17 forecast close to last year’s reduced level

After two consecutive years of reduced outputs, cereal exports in 2016/17 marketing year (April/March) are forecast to remain close to the 2015/16 reduced level at 11.6 million tonnes, 35 percent below the five‑year average. Although, wheat exports in 2016/17 are forecast to increase from last year’s low level to 1.5 million tonnes, this is still well below the average. Similarly, maize exports are also set to remain low: apart from reduced carryovers from the past two years, this also reflects increased domestic demand from the feed and starch industry. Rice exports in calendar year 2016 are forecast at 10 million tonnes, 10 percent below the 2015 high level, due to a combination of subdued demand and tighter exportable availabilities.

Rice prices rose marginally in July, while those of wheat were stable

Retail prices of rice rose marginally in most markets in July, supported by reduced 2015/16 secondary season crop. Prices of wheat were stable in July, reflecting adequate market supplies from the 2016 good harvest and continued release of Government’s supplies through the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS).

Overall food security satisfactory

The overall food security situation in India is considered to be satisfactory, given ample food stocks and the provision of highly‑subsidized rice, wheat and coarse grains through distribution programmes, especially for the below‑poverty line families through the National Food Security Act (NFSA). As of May 2016, the NFSA has been implemented in 33 states out of 36 states/units, with presently about 724 million people already benefiting from the highly subsidized food grains under NFSA. India is prone to floods during the monsoon season, which normally affect large numbers of people. This year, recurrent floods and landslides since July mostly concentrated in the northeastern pasts of the country, affected at least 5.9 milllion people in Assam and Bihar alone, causing deaths and injuries, loss of livestock and flood supplies. Severe damage to housing and infrastructure has also been reported.