Delhi: A report by the United States Department of
Agriculture has forecast a global wheat shortage in the
coming year because production forecasts for several countries
that have finished harvesting have been revised downward.
Australian Wheat Board (AWB) has already announced that
a severe drought in Australia may cut the country''s
wheat output in the current financial year (2006-07)
by almost 64 per cent over last year and Australia may
be forced to import feed grain to meet its local demand.
a major wheat producer has suspended its wheat exports.
wheat production has fallen by 1.5-million tonnes to
103.5-million tonnes with small downward revisions in
area and yield.
wheat crop in Brazil is also said to have failed.
report warns that despite a small increase in wheat
production in Canada, the US and South Africa, global
wheat production next year will decline.
has sent off alarm bells in the government just when two
major wheat-producing and consuming states Punjab
and Uttar Pradesh will face state assembly elections
due early next year. This has resulted in the government
going on a procurement overdrive.
minister P Chidambaram has warned the agricultural ministry
that importing more wheat could cost India considerably
more than what it had paid earlier this year.
is importing 5.5-million tonnes (of which around 2.4-million
tonnes had arrived till October 31) at an estimated cost
of around Rs4,700 crore.
Though the government has increased the minimum support
price for wheat to Rs750 a quintal, futures prices have
touched Rs1,100 and continue to climb.
and large procurement by the Food Corporation of India
next March, when the wheat crop is harvested, alone would
ensure India did not face a wheat crisis, the sources
added. The ball, they said, was now in the agriculture
government knows a wheat shortage could have major repercussions
in the Assembly elections in the wheat-producing states.