NEW DELHI: Recent rains and hailstorm in key growing Indian states have not affected the wheat crop and the output might cross 100 million tonnes, an all-time high level, in the current rabi season, a senior government official said on Tuesday.
Sowing of wheat, the main rabi (winter) crop, is almost complete and the acreage under the crop has reached 298.47 lakh hectare till last week, slightly lower than 299.84 lakh hectare in the year-ago period, according to the official data.
Wheat production stood at a record 99.70 million tonne in the 2017-18 crop year (July-June).
“No negative impact of rains on the wheat crop reported so far. There may be some minor impact in patches. However, the majority of the crop is in good condition,” Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) Director General Trilochan Mohapatra told .
The extended winter has been good for the crop as low temperature will boost the crop growth, he said while cautioning that the crop could be affected if there are rains or hailstorm in the coming weeks.
“Wheat sowing is complete. The acreage under the crop is slightly lower than the year-ago period, but we expect higher yields and overall production will definitely cross 100 million tonnes,” Mohapatra said.
On other rabi crops, the ICAR chief said that gram (chana) and mustard crops’ condition is good. There is a possibility of bumper rabi crop output in 2018-19.
The Centre will soon announce production estimates for rabi crops of 2018-19.
The government had increased the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat to Rs 1,840 per quintal from Rs 1,735 per quintal, as part of its decision to fix the support price at least 1.5 times of the production cost.
The Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrains, and state agencies buy wheat from farmers at MSP and the grain is distributed at Rs 2 per kg to over 80 crore people under the National Food Security Act.