NEW DELHI, INDIA – Despite a weak monsoon season, India’s Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare is forecasting record production of rice and near record production of wheat in 2018-19.

However, it predicts significantly lower output of corn and other coarse grains, which means overall grain production is expected to fall 2 million tonnes short of last year’s record crop.

India’s rice production is forecast to reach 115.6 million tonnes, while wheat output has been revised higher to 99.1 million tonnes.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department, the 2018 Southwest Monsoon (June through September 2018) precipitation was 9% below the 50-year average across the country.

It noted that while weak monsoon rains in September affected planting of rabi crops, extended winter conditions and scattered rains during January and February are likely to support good yields of the upcoming crops, including wheat, barley, and other coarse grains.

A March 12 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said wheat imports have come to a halt in India since the government decided to raise the import duty to 30% in May 2018.

“Wheat imports have not been observed since October 2018,” USDA said. “Consequently, 2018-19 imports have been revised lower to 50,0000 tonnes.”