The country’s wheat production in 2015-16 is expected to surpass last year’s level of 88.94 million tonnes on favourable cold weather conditions despite low acreage, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Friday.
Though total area sown to wheat this year is slightly lower than 2014-15 crop year (July-June) but the crop yields are expected to get a boost as India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast stable weather till March, he said.
Last year, wheat output had declined to 88.94 million tonnes from a record 95.85 million tonnes achieved in the previous year because of drought and unseasonal rains. “The wheat crop condition is good at present because of lower temperature in last few weeks. The crop yields are also expected to improve further as IMD has forecast favourable weather during February-March. Overall production will be much higher than the last year’s level,” Singh told PTI.
Wheat sowing has almost been completed in major growing states and total wheat coverage is down by only 4.38% at 29.25 million hectare this year despite facing severe drought in 10 states, he said.
Though there was 14% deficit monsoon rains this year, even distribution of rainfall benefited rabi crops, he said, adding that the timely contingency measures also helped farmers save crops. Singh said wheat area has come down as farmers diverted to pulses and some horticultural crops for better income.
Allaying fears of any fall in wheat output, Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain said: “There is no cause of concern as of now. Because of recent cold temperature, we are likely to gain productivity. And wheat output is likely to be much higher than 2014-15.”
He added that there was loss in wheat output last year mainly due to unseasonal rains in February-March. “We hope we do not face similar situation this time as IMD has forecast stable weather for next two months,” he added.
Karnal-based Directorate of Wheat Research head Indu Sharma said, “If the temperature does not rise above normal after February, there will not be any set back on production.” Sowing of rabi (winter) crops like wheat began from October. Rabi crops have been under pressure due to dry winter following two consecutive drought years, raising concerns over production levels.