In India, domestic wheat production is on course to fall by three million tonnes from an earlier estimate of 97 million tonnes. This may involve the country in importing 1.5mt (million tonnes) in 2018-19, according to a new report prepared for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The report notes that, in 2016-2017, India imported 5.9mt, followed by 2mt a year later.

It continues by noting that, “Unfavourable late season weather conditions and consequent decline in the upcoming harvest may improve import prospects, while any further rise in import duty may push the forecast for imports lower”.

In November 2017, the government increased the import duty on wheat from 10% to 20% to discourage imports, since

local harvest projections were upbeat. India has been a net importer of wheat since 2016–17 and this continued into 2017–18. However, most imports are of quality wheat for South India millers. Nevertheless, these sometimes find imports more economical than buying from the domestic market, since prices often rise after the marketing season is over in August.

Barry Cross