NEW DELHI, INDIA — Favorable weather in major wheat growing areas has India heading for a record harvest of 110 million tonnes from 30.9 million planted hectares for the 2022-23 marketing year (April-March), compared with 109.6 million tonnes on 31.1 million hectares last year, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupting the world’s wheat supply from the Black Sea region, India is poised for record exports as well. Russia and Ukraine combine for about 29% of the world’s wheat exports.

“New Delhi Post forecasts marketing year 2022-23 wheat exports at 10 million tonnes on continued competitive prices in the region and sufficient domestic supplies,” the USDA said. “Riding on record harvests, major government stocks liquidated at subsidized prices in the domestic market and seeing firm global wheat prices, India is emerging as a wheat exporter in the region.”

With high global prices fueling domestic pricing, coupled with receding fear of new COVID-19 disruptions, government procurement is set to swing into reverse in 2022-23. In February 2022, but just prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Indian government set the 2022-23 procurement target at 44 million tonnes. With speculation rampant about a surge of demand for Indian export wheat, due to high global prices, sources see the government’s minimum support price (MSP) procurement dropping to 30 million to 35 million tonnes.

Rice production in 2022-23 is forecast at 125 million tonnes from 46 million planted hectares and yields of 4.08 tonnes per hectare (rough rice). High vegetable oil prices may shift some unirrigated rice area to oilseeds. Rice exports for 2021-22 are expected to reach 20.5 million tonnes, while 2022-23 exports are forecast at 18 million tonnes on tighter domestic supplies, rising costs due to expected higher MSP and competing countries’ supplies. 

Despite 2021 monsoon rains supporting a record corn harvest, 2021-22 total coarse grain production is estimated lower at 49.9 million tonnes due to lower production of other coarse grains.