Agriculture Current Affair 27 January 2023

North Indian cold wave impacts two major Rabi crops in different ways

The cold wave in northern India in the second week of January has impacted the two major Rabi crops – mustard and wheat in different ways. It will increase the production of wheat this Rabi season by 5 million tonnes to 112 million tonnes, experts said. This could spur the government to lift the ban on wheat exports as there will be enough stock to meet the domestic requirement and maintain a buffer stock too.

But temperature below 5 degree centigrade has impacted the flowering of mustard seeds in certain pockets of the mustard growing region.

“The cold wave in the first fortnight of this month has remained favourable for the wheat crop. According to our estimate, production will be 5 million tonnes more compared to last year,” said Dr Gyanendra Singh, director of Karnal-based ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR).

Centre procures paddy, wheat worth over Rs 2.5 lakh crore in 2021-22 against Rs 98k crore in 2013-14

Procurement of wheat and paddy in quantity and value terms has risen significantly in the last eight years, on account of a hike in the minimum support price (MSP) and purchases made from more states, a senior food ministry official said on Tuesday. The number of farmers covered under the MSP operations has also increased because of the higher quantity of wheat and paddy procurement by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the nodal agency for the procurement and distribution of foodgrains.

“The central procurement of wheat and paddy has increased substantially between the 2013-14 and 2021-22 marketing seasons. The procurement has become broad-based and we are purchasing grains from more states now. MSP has increased significantly,” said Subodh Singh, additional secretary in the food ministry.

The procurement is taking place in Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Tripura, he said, adding that the FCI has started buying paddy from Rajasthan.

Record-high wheat prices may impact government buying

Record-high wheat prices, which are ruling 50% higher than the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 2,125 per quintal for the ongoing 2022-23 rabi marketing season, pose a challenge for replenishing the depleted government granaries, said traders and industry executives.

New wheat crop will be harvested in two months, gaining pace after Baisakhi (April 14).

The warehouses of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) used to overflow with wheat till the previous year as farmers preferred selling wheat to the FCI at MSP over the open markets, which offered a price lower than the MSP. However, in 2021-22, the FCI’s wheat procurement plunged 56% as farmers sold their produce to private traders.

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