GIEWS Country Brief: India 21-May-2010



- Current Rabi wheat harvest is estimated at about the same record level as the previous year.

- Rice prices in some markets remain at their highest levels and wheat prices declining but higher than a year ago

- High food prices are a cause for concern as food security of low income population is affected negatively.

The 2010 Rabi wheat harvest is estimated at about the same record level of the previous year

Harvest of the Rabi crops, such as wheat, barley and paddy has been completed. Although there were dry periods during the season, most of the crop is cultivated under irrigation in this season and adequate water supplies mitigated the effect of drought. However, relatively warmer than normal temperatures which forced early maturation of the crop have resulted in lower yields. The Government has increased the minimum support price for wheat by 11 percent over the level of the previous marketing year (Apr./Mar.).

The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast the 2010 monsoon as normal. If this forecast materializes a strong recovery in cereal production is anticipated in 2010/11 marketing year (April/March) over the drought affected level last year.

A severe drought in many parts of the country during the 2009 main Kharif season resulted in a reduced foodgrains harvest of 99.85 million tonnes (including rice in milled form), a reduction of 15.5 percent from the 118.14 million tonnes the year before (Directorate of Economics and Statistics). The country is importing small amount of rice depending on the international market conditions to build up stocks for its food distribution programmes.