Dark clouds are hovering over India's wheat export prospects. While India's wheat production at the beginning of 2015 appeared to be better than last year's on account of favourable weather conditions, the poor performance of the same appears to have cemented in the wake of incessant and unseasonable rainfall in parts of the country. This along with price disparity is expected to hit wheat exports for this year.
Wheat export has already seen a drop of 36% from April to December this year in comparison to same period in 2013. Widespread rainfall and thunderstorms in many parts of northern, western and central India in the past few weeks have adversely affected the yield of wheat, mustard and chana. The ravaged and rain rotten wheat is therefore expected to lose its sheen in international market where other countries are already eating up India’s wheat export share with much lower prices.
Flattened wheat crop and waterlogged fields across Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been reported. Almost 10-20% of wheat crop is expected to face the brunt of untimely rain in Northwest India. Inclement weather has ravaged wheat crops across the country and sent prices soaring.
So then, is restricting the unrestricted export of the wheat grain required?
According to Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, the volatility in global wheat prices in terms of sharp dip in dollar terms may affect the competitiveness of Indian wheat exports. The quality of wheat is another factor that may lead to shrinking wheat exports.
With India's persistent refusal to lower prices and possible shortfall in production, export and meeting the domestic need of the staple food item may turnout to be a bigger concern for the country and its faithful farmers.
In 2015-16, India's wheat output is expected to fall behind consumption, which is being underpinned by population growth.