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Reference Date: 16-April-2015

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Heavy rains and localized hail in March affected 2015 Rabi season wheat crop

  2. Poor monsoon rains lowered 2014 aggregate cereal production

  3. Total cereal exports estimated to have decreased markedly in 2014/15 marketing year (April/March)

  4. Rice and wheat prices were generally stable or weakened slightly in some markets in March

Heavy rains and localized hail in March affected 2015 Rabi season wheat crop

Harvesting of the 2015 mostly irrigated Rabi’ (winter) wheat crop has started in early March and will continue until mid-May. Despite favourable weather in January and February, heavy rains, coupled with strong winds and localized hail, during the first dekad of March over the northern and central main wheat producing states, is reported to have negatively affected the standing wheat crop in the final stages of development. According to preliminary reports, the most affected states include Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, which all together account for about 80 percent of the total wheat production. No detailed official estimate of the damage to the wheat crop is yet available, but preliminary reports indicate a reduction of some 4 percent in output, as well as lower quality of this year’s crop. Pending a more detailed assessment, FAO has further lowered its 2015 wheat production forecast to 92 million tonnes. At the revised level, the 2015 wheat output would be 4 percent lower than the record level of 2014.

Planting of the 2015/16 main Kharif’ season crops, including rice and maize, will start in late May. Assuming a good monsoon season and continued Government support to the rice sector, FAO tentatively forecasts the 2015 aggregate rice production at 158.2 million tonnes, up 2 percent from the 2014 slightly reduced output. Early indications point to a small increase in the 2015 maize production to 22.5 million tonnes, as yields are projected to return to average, after low levels in 2014.

Poor monsoon rains lowered 2014 aggregate cereal production

Latest official forecasts for the 2014/15 secondary Rabi rice crop, currently being harvested, is set at 20.2 million tonnes, some 11 percent below last year’s record level of the same season. Including the 2014 main Kkharif rice crop, harvested by January 2015, the 2014 aggregate rice output is set at 154.6 million tonnes, 3 percent below the 2013 record harvest. Similarly, the 2014 maize output is officially estimated to have decreased by 10 percent compared to the 2013 bumper level to 22 million tonnes. The estimated decreases reflect overall lower yields, following delayed and below-average monsoon rains during the Kharif main season, as well as localized floods in late July and late September 2014 in some northeastern areas of the country.

Total cereal exports decreased markedly in 2014/15 marketing year (April/March)

Cereal exports in the 2014/15 marketing year (April/March) are estimated at 16.6 million tonnes, some 24 percent down from the 2013/14 high level, but still 14 percent above the previous five-year average. The decline in the exportable surplus is mainly attributed to strong domestic requirements under the National Food Security Act, which has been approved in 2013 and is currently under implementation is most states. Wheat exports are estimated at 3.8 million tonnes, more than one-third below the 2013/14 level, also considering the expected decline in this year’s harvest. Rice exports in 2015 are forecast by FAO at 9.3 million tonnes, 18 percent below last year’s record exports also as a result of an estimated lower harvest in 2014. Maize exports are set at 3.1 million tonnes, some 22 percent drop compared to the previous year’s level, due to lower production combined with increased domestic demand from the feed and starch industry.

Rice and wheat prices were generally stable or weakened marginally in some markets in March

Retail prices of rice were generally stable or decreased slightly in some markets in March, with the downward pressure from the beginning of the 2015 secondary season harvest, partially offset by an expected decline in 2014/15 Rabi output and the ongoing Government’s procurement programme.

Prices of wheat, another important staple, remained generally unchanged or weakened marginally in March in some markets, with the beginning of the 2015 main harvest. However, an expected decline in output and quality of the 2015 wheat crop, following adverse weather conditions have limited further price decreases.

Overall food security is considered to be satisfactory

The overall food security in India is considered to be satisfactory given 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”, about 75 percent of the rural and 50 percent of the urban population (nearly 800 million people) 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. On 4 April 2015, the Central Government of India has extended by six months for implementing the Food Security Act. As of early April 2015, 11 states throughout India have implemented the law.











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

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