India

GIEWS Country Brief: India 10-April-2015

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

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

  • Poor monsoon rains lowered 2014 aggregate cereal production

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

  • 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, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, which all together account for about 75 percent of the total wheat production. No official estimate of the damage to the wheat crop is yet available, but preliminary reports indicate a reduction in output and quality of this year’s crop. Pending a more detailed assessment, FAO has lowered its 2015 wheat production forecast by 1.8 million tonnes since early March, to 94 million tonnes. At the revised level, the 2015 wheat output would be 2 percent lower than that of 2014, but still be the third best on record.

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.