Showers, Hailstorms Raise Concerns Over India’s Wheat Crop Despite Receding Heatwave

Showers, Hailstorms Raise Concerns Over India’s Wheat Crop Despite Receding Heatwave

After ducking anxiety caused by rising temperatures and heatwaves, estimations of India’s bumper wheat harvest on grounds of increased acreage and cold winter have again got clouded by concerns over unexpected showers and hailstorms.

India And Its Wheat Story

Located in Asia, India is the second largest wheat producer in the world. Approximately 13.53% of the total wheat produced globally is accounted for by India. The wheat crop is planted during the months of October and November and is harvested during the months of March and April.

The country enjoys bumper wheat harvest every year, however owing to high consumption needs, all the Wheat Exporters in the Asian nation combinedly contribute a meager 1% to the total global wheat trade.

Back in May 2022, India imposed a ban on exports of wheat and wheat flour amid rising demand for the commodity in the global market in the aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine war and rising prices in the domestic market. While it still kept the doors open for wheat exports on a G2G basis to help nations meet their food security needs, exports of wheat were primarily restricted to increase the stockpiles and to calm down rising prices that pinched the pockets of common people.

Along similar lines, Indian wheat farmers planted wheat crops on an increased piece of land this time. According to government estimates, wheat has been sown over 34 million hectares of land, and owing to an increase in planting, experts and analysts expected India to have a record wheat output this time around.

However, the road to bumper harvest has been far free from obstacles so far. Rising temperature and heatwave in the month of February raised concerns for India’s wheat crops, and since the concerns around the same have ebbed away, unexpected rains and hailstorms in key wheat-producing states of India such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Bihar have again raised brows with respect to India’s wheat production.

India’s Key Wheat-Producing States Battering Rainfall And Hailstorms

As per Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), India’s key wheat-producing states have witnessed heavy rainfall and hailstorms with projections of the same for an upcoming couple of days. A scientist with the Agricultural Meteorology Division of the IMD cited the extent of damage caused by heavy rain and strong storms at this moment is uncertain. However, unexpected rainfall and hailstorms have already punctured the optimism of increased wheat output.

Statements By Market Traders

Trade sources have already lowered India’s wheat harvest from 107 million mt-108 million mt to somewhere between 92 million mt-95 million mt. An Indore-based trader said that wheat crops have been damaged in some areas of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh which may lead to a drop in yield and quality.

The Bottom Line

Unexpected rainfall and strong storms have once again raised concerns over India’s bumper wheat harvest and until a clear picture of the damage emerges and the GOI’s inventory is replenished, India is unlikely to resume exports of wheat in the months to come.

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