India’s wheat output dented by heatwave, could limit government stock building

Updated Mar 7, 2023
A heatwave in northern and central India at a time the crop is ripening is threatening to damage grains and dent the country’s wheat production for the second straight year. The reduction in production amid a drop in inventories to the lowest level in 6 years may force the world’s second biggest producer of the grain to allow imports after banning exports last year.
“Winter hasn’t ended yet, but during the day temperatures rise like summer,” said Rameshwar Chowdhury, who has planted wheat on six acres in the Niwai village in the northwestern state of Rajasthan. “We are irrigating fields to limit the impact, but beyond that we can’t do anything.” The maximum temperature in some wheat-growing areas jumped above 39 degrees Celsius for a few days in February, nearly 10 degrees Celsius above normal, according to weather department data. Higher temperatures would lead to early maturity of the crop and grains could be shrivelled, like they were last year, said Chowdhury. India recorded its highest ever maximum temperature in February and the weather office has warned the country is likely to experience another heatwave in March, especially in the key wheat-producing central and northern states. A heatwave in March could further harm the crop, which has already been showing signs of stress, said another farmer, Gopilaal Jaat. In 2022, a heatwave in ...
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