India’s wheat production could jump to a second consecutive annual record in 2020 as the wettest monsoon in 25 years is set to help farmers in expanding the area under the winter-sown crop while also boosting yields, industry officials told Reuters.
But that higher production would add to India’s already swelling inventories, potentially forcing the world’s second-biggest wheat producer to ramp up procurement of the grain from farmers and provide incentives for overseas sales to support local prices.
“The area under wheat and yields would rise due to good rainfall. We can certainly produce more than last year’s record production,” said Gyanendra Singh, director at the state-run Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research. India grew 102.19 million tonnes of wheat in 2019.
The country received monsoon rains during the June-September season that were 10 percent above average and the rainfall continued during October and November, increasing soil moisture levels required for crop sowing.
Rainfall also lifted the water level in India’s key reservoirs to 86 percent of capacity compared to 61 percent a year ago and a 10-year average of 64 percent, according to government data.
Only one wheat crop is grown in India each year, with planting starting in late October and harvesting in March.
Farmers are inclined to expand the area under wheat as its prices are more stable than any other crop due to government buying, said Harish Galipelli, head of commodities and currencies at Inditrade Derivatives & Commodities in Mumbai.