News: US Department of Agriculture(USDA) has released its forecast of Indian wheat exports for 2020-21(July-June). USDA has estimated India’s Wheat Exports for 2020-21 (July-June) to be around 1.8 million tonnes (mt), as against its earlier estimate of one mt. That would be the highest ever in the last six years.
India’s Wheat Exports:
Source: Indian Express
- Wheat: It is the second most important cereal crop. It is the main food crop, in the north and north-western part of the country.
- Climate: This rabi crop requires a cool growing season and bright sunshine at the time of ripening. It requires 50 to 75 cm of annual rainfall evenly- distributed over the growing season.
- Wheat Growing Regions: There are two important wheat-growing zones in the country – the Ganga-Satluj plains in the northwest and the black soil region of the Deccan. The major wheat-producing states are Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and parts of Madhya Pradesh.
- Reason for India’s higher wheat exports: Due to surging international prices from Chinese stockpiling and ultra-low interest rate money increasingly finding its way into agri-commodity markets.
- Concerns: Indian wheat is still not competitive at the government’s minimum support price(MSP) of Rs 19,750 per tonne. The export price of wheat bought in Gujarat is around Rs 20,950 per tonne. That works out to $286 per tonne or $290-plus after adding exporter margins. The above price is higher than the $275-280 that major exporters such as Australia, France, the US, Russia and Canada quoted.
- Suggestions: This disadvantage can be overcome if wheat is sourced at below MSP from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra where not much government procurement happens.
- The new crop arriving in these markets would be available at Rs 17,000-18,000/tonne. This wheat can be exported by rail rakes to Bangladesh or shipped to the Middle East (UAE, Oman and Bahrain) and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia).
India’s Rice Exports:
- Rice: It is the staple food crop of a majority of the people in India. Our country is the second-largest producer of rice in the world after China.
- Climate: It is a Kharif crop that requires high temperature, (above 25°C) and high humidity with annual rainfall above 100 cm. In the areas of less rainfall, it grows with the help of irrigation.
- Rice Growing Regions: Rice is grown in the plains of north and north-eastern India, coastal areas and the deltaic regions. The development of a dense network of canal irrigation and tube wells have made it possible to grow rice in areas of less rainfall such as Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan.
- India’s Rice Exports: USDA has estimated that India’s rice imports have hit a record 14.4 mt in 2020 up from 9.79 mt and 11.791 mt of the preceding two years. The country’s closest competitors – Thailand and Vietnam – have seen their exports during this period.