Rains expected to cut short India’s wheat production

Numbers forecast to fall 4-5 percent short of estimated 95.76 million tons

India Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the country’s wheat production is expected to fall 4-5 percent short of the estimated 95.76 million tons, due to unseasonal rains that hit the crop when it was ready to harvest.

Estimates say 11.3 million hectares (xx acres) of rabi, or winter, wheat crop was damaged in recent days. The total rabi acreage is estimated at 60 million acres.

Analysts say the drop in production is unlikely to affect the price of wheat and wheat products because of the large stocks left from the previous year.

“We have a carryover stock of 18 million tonnes from the previous year … With such huge stock, prices are expected to be stable,” said analyst Tejinder Narang.

India produced 95.85 million tons of wheat in 2013-14.

Singh has asked states to utilize the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for financial assistance for farmers affected by the rains. An informal group of ministers has been set up to examine the possibility of raising the cap on financial assistance provided to farmers under such circumstances.

“The Centre is ready to give additional funds to states once they utilize those available with them under SDRF. A central team has already visited seven states to assess the crop loss,” Singh said.

The worst damage has been reported in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.