India's wheat planting remains steady despite record high prices - Rajendra Jadhav

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published Published on Feb 6, 2023   modified Modified on Feb 7, 2023


India's wheat plantings remained steady despite a rally in price of the staple to a record as farmers in a key producing central state shifted to rapeseed (mustard) to take advantage of even higher prices for the oilseed, farm ministry data showed on Monday.

A lower-than-expected planting area in the world's second biggest wheat producer may cap an expected rise in production, after output fell last year because of a heatwave that forced New Delhi to ban exports amid limited supplies from Black Sea region because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. A rise in rapeseed output could help India, the world's biggest edible oil importer reduce overseas purchases of palm oil , soyoil and sunflower oil.

The government and industry officials were expecting a substantial increase in wheat cultivation as the crop was offering better returns than competing crops. Area under wheat rose to 34.32 million hectares (84.8 million acres) for the 2022/23 crop year, up 0.4% from last year's 34.18 million hectares, data released by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare showed. 

Domestic wheat prices hit an all-time high of Rs. 32,500 rupees per tonne in January, far above the government-fixed buying price of Rs. 21,250. Farmers in Madhya Pradesh, a leading producer of wheat, surprised forecasts by switching to oilseeds from wheat, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading house.

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Rajendra Jadhav, Reuters, 6 February, 2023,

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