The total beat the previous estimate of 277.5 million tonnes and is 4.5 million tonnes higher than last year’s record harvest, according to an estimate released by India’s Ministry of Agriculture. The increase was attributed to near-normal 2017 monsoon rainfall and various government policies.
The ministry’s estimate includes record production of:
- Rice at 111.5 million tonnes, up from 109.7 million tonnes. Planting is higher at 43.9 million hectares, up from 42.9 million, and record yields of 2.54 tonnes per hectare are expected.
- Wheat at 98.6 million tonnes, up from 98.5 million tonnes, with record yields but lower plantings.
- Corn at 26.9 million tonnes, up from 25.9 million tonnes, with record yields of 2.9 tonnes per hectare vs. 2.7 tonnes per hectare.
- Pulses at 24.5 million tonnes, up from 23.1 million tonnes, on near record planting and yields.
Despite relatively dry planting conditions and low winter rains, extended low temperatures during critical growth stages through harvest have supported record wheat yields, especially in growing areas with assured irrigation facilities.
Strong market arrivals and higher government wheat procurement compared to last year also suggest a near record wheat harvest during the current season.
The Ministry of Finance increased the basic custom duty on wheat to 30% ad valorem to protect domestic wheat growers from the impact of imports of cheaper international wheat.
Earlier, the import duty on wheat was raised to 20% in November 2017, after the government imposed a basic custom duty of 10% on imports of wheat in March 2017.
With the increase in the import duty, the 2018-19 wheat import forecast is revised lower to 500,000 tonnes assuming relatively stable domestic prices on sufficient production.