The Federal Agriculture Ministry (AM) said that food grain production is expected to be 5.01% higher at 208.3 million tons (mt) in 2005-2006 versus 198.36 mt a year ago because of better output from rice and oilseeds but wheat production is only marginally higher. Wheat production estimates has been downgraded consistently with alarming incoherence from 73.06mt to 71.54 mt to 69.49 mt (compared to 68.64 mt last year) that no one believes in these numbers anymore and instead wait for the final figures in September.
The AM blames monsoon delays after initial sowing, droughts in some parts of
Central and West India, and temperature variations close to harvest has affected
output. To overcome this, the AM has had a
choppy and murky wheat import plan that seems to evolve with every announcement. The AM also has a pattern of overestimating food grain production levels such as predicting 6.25 mt more than actual figures for last year. Rice is the only sweet spot last year with a marginal increase at 69.48mt from 68.64.
For this year, the AM says it expects that output of coarse cereals will be slightly higher at 34.67mt this year from 33.46 mt, pulses production marginally lower at 13.11mt from 13.13mt, and cotton output is expected to more than double at 195.72 lakh bales from 93.99 lakh bales. Both cereals and pulses are below targets.
Compared to this, according to the World Food Program, after 26 years of being a food aid recipient nation, China has emerged as the 4th largest food donor to 12 nations (a major part to North Korea) estimated at 577,000 tons. From the 1950s famine that killed 30 million Chinese, the nation now produces 484 mt of food grain and has a reverse problem of 8% obese, well-fed children of one-child family planning scheme.