Recently, the wheat crop was sown in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, during the first half of November, which is in the initial stages already get affected by several ups and downs, estimating an unpredictable situation for both farmers and consumers.
Factors affecting wheat production:
A matter of temperatures: The maximum temperature for grain–filling shouldn’t cross 37 degrees before March's end.
The crop is ready for harvest once the grains have ripened and moisture levels reduced to 12-13% by rising temperatures.
Last year, maximum temperatures breached the 35-degree mark in the northern plains by mid-March and 40 degrees before the month-end, which impacted the yields
Government procurement: Government procurement was one of the reasons behind the marginal dip in the country’s wheat output (from 109.59 MT in 2020-21 to107mt in 2021-22
Global price relief: FAO food price index hit a historic high of 159.7 points in March 2022 during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
However, since then, the FAO index has fallen every month to touch 129.8 points in February 2023.
How does it impact the farmers and consumers?
The expected procurement would be able to meet the requirements of the public distribution system, midday meals and other regular welfare schemes, whose annual wheat requirement is around 26 MT.
However, it will fall short of meeting the commitments of special schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme.
Second, the government will not be able to supply wheat to flour millers and other bulk consumers to moderate open market prices during the lean months after October.
Third, the price of wheat may rise further due to lower production and huge export demand. This may enhance food inflation in the country and also increase the food subsidy bill of the government which is likely to cross INR 2.8 lakh crore this fiscal.