India may procure up to 20mmt wheat on domestic market - on imports necessary

Reports out over the weekend suggest tha India has already acquired in excess of the government's target 15 mmt wheat on the domestic market and may eventually secure up to 20 mmt.

"As per information received from state governments, (India's) local wheat buys in 2008-09 are expected to reach 20 million (metric) tons, up from 11.1 million tons a year earlier, negating the need for any imports," farm minister Sharad Pawar told reporters on the sidelines of an industry event.

Procurement through May 1 was 15.4 million tons, compared with 8.2 million tons procured during the corresponding period of MY2007/08.

With carryover stocks on 1st April 2008 at 5.8mmt total wheat availability from the government could reach 25/26 million tons, which is more than adequate to meet the PDS requirement under normal conditions (12 to 14 million tons) and leave more than adequate carry over stocks for next marketing year.

The Agriculture Ministry's third advance estimate places total 2007/08 total food grain production, which includes the wheat crop just harvested, and rice, coarse grains, and pulse crops harvested last fall and this spring at a record227.3 million tons, 10 million tons above the 2006/07 level of 217.3 million tons and 8 million tons above the government's second advance estimate of 219.3 million tons released in early February.