Wheat production set to surpass rice output for first time

The country’s wheat production is set to surpass the rice output for the first time this year, according to feedback the Centre has received from the states. The food ministry has been informed by wheat-growing states that production of the rabi-grown cereal may be 118.41 million tonne, 11.5% higher than the estimate of the agriculture ministry. Due to unseasonal rains and hailstorms in March, there were concerns over the wheat crop.

According to the second advance estimates for crop year 2019-20 (July-June), the rice output is seen at 117.47 million tonne and wheat at 106.21 million tonne. The estimates, released by the agriculture ministry in February, also pegged the food grain output at record 291.95 million tonne.

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Backed by the bumper production, the states have geared up plan to purchase 40.7 million tonne of wheat this year for the central Pool, the food ministry said in a statement. The procurement which has commenced from April 15 will continue until June 30 in most of the states except Bihar, where it is slated to continue till July 15 due to late harvest. Punjab and Gujarat have fixed the procurement schedule till May-end.

The rabi rice procurement has also been fixed at a record level of 11.29 million tonne, out of which more than half will be from Telangana as the state has decided to buy the entire 6.2 million tonne of winter-grown crop from farmers.

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