Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Saturday that India expects to harvest 92-93 million tonnes of wheat this year, despite unseasonal rains and hailstorms damaging crops in some parts of the country. His statement follows the release of a paper by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India on Friday, which said that weather disturbances affecting maturing crops may lead production to drop by around 13 million tonnes to 79-80 million tonnes.
According to the ASSOCHAM paper, the shortfall in production may leave the government with no choice but to import the staple grain. ASSOCHAM Secretary General DS Rawat said the deficit may also lead food inflation to rise, which may further cause a spike in price rise that “has been tamed after a prolonged gap”. He explained that if the quality of wheat continued to be affected by weather disturbances, the government may be forced to procure lower quality wheat in larger volumes, The Times of India reported.In February, the Agriculture Ministry had forecast India’s 2016 wheat output at 93.82 million tonnes. The estimation is lower than the earlier target of 94.75 million tonnes but higher than 2015’s production of 86.53 million tonnes, Reuters reported.