India’s wheat acreage down 5.5%, planting likely to pick up - GulfToday

India’s wheat acreage down 5.5%, planting likely to pick up


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Indian farmers have planted wheat on 8.6 million hectares since Oct.1, when the current sowing season began, down nearly 5.5% from a year earlier, sources said on Friday.

The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, which will keep updating the provisional crop sowing figures as it gathers more information from state governments, expects wheat area to go up in the next few weeks, the sources said.

The planting figures are also subject to revision depending on weather conditions.

Wheat planting is lower due to a delayed rice harvest, the sources said.

But higher prices would encourage farmers to bring in more area under wheat this year, trade and industry officials say.

In India, the world’s biggest wheat producer after China, the staple is mainly produced in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

India grows only one wheat crop in a year, with planting in October and November, and harvests from March.

New Delhi was forced to ban wheat exports in May last year, after a sudden rise in temperatures in March cut crop yields. Despite the ban, wheat prices have soared, prompting the government to release state reserves into the open market.

Sowing of rapeseed, the main winter-planted oilseed was almost unchanged at 6.9 million hectares. Higher rapeseed output will help India, the world’s biggest cooking oil importer, to cut expensive purchases of edible oils.

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