India. Wheat imports to continue this season


Wheat imports by flour mills are likely to continue as a lower-than-expected rabi crop is insufficient to meet India's demand for wheat flour and maida. Agriculturists feel the drop in rate of wheat seed replacement due to cash crunch would affect yield this season. This coupled with foggy conditions are likely to raise India's reliance on imports."We require 22-25 million tonnes of wheat to make wheat flour, sooji and maida for the domestic market.

With less carry-forward stock and the government replenishing their warehouses for various social schemes, dependency on imports by the private sector will con tinue," says Veena Sharma, secretary, Roller Flour Millers Federation of India.With carry forward stock going to be lesser than last year the industry would be forced to rely on imports, said Prerana Desai, vicepresident at Edelweiss Agri Research. "The government stock on December 1 (16.60 million tonne), is currently the lowest in the past eight years. Imports will continue next year as global prices are falling," she says.

Till March 2017, India will import 3.85 million tonne of wheat, with arrivals till date in Indian ports at 1.6 million tonnes, she said.Millers anticipate prices to firm up next year, with low carry over stock.ET VIEWReap the Crop Output DataThere is a need to assess the causes for the lower output, and to establish if this is a trend by analysing crop output data from official and nonofficial sources. Once the causes are identified, there is a need to frame policies, programmes and interventions to address the factors responsible for a lower output. This would be a far better engagement than simply focusing on whether the official estimates were higher or not.


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