India’s wheat production during the current crop year (July 2022-June 2023) has been estimated at a record high of 112.18 million tonnes (mt) - 4 per cent higher than 107.74 mt last crop year, the Government said in its second advance estimates on Tuesday.

The record high production of wheat, rice and coarse cereals has resulted in foodgrains production projected at a new high of 323.55 mt, up 2.5 per cent from the previous record high of 315.62 mt in 2021-22. The estimate of a record high rice production comes despite the output being lower in the kharif season.

The estimates come at a time when core inflation remains high and speculations are rife over kharif rice production and the shaping up of the wheat harvest due in a month’s time. Wheat and rice prices soared to record highs this year.

Aided by ‘farmer-friendly’ policies

Releasing the estimates of kharif and rabi crops, the Agriculture Ministry said record production has been estimated in rice, maize, gram, pulses, mustard, oilseeds and sugarcane for the current crop year. The record production of so many crops is the result of the “farmer-friendly” policies of the Centre, as well as the “tireless hard work of the farmers and the diligence of the scientists”, an Agriculture Ministry official said.

The government releases four estimates at quarterly intervals before finalising the production for a crop year. Normally, there is a revision in each round from the previous one after the first estimate is released.

Last year, traders and others had pegged wheat output below 100 mt after the yield dropped in almost all growing states, including Punjab and Haryana, due to a heatwave sweeping across the country in March and April. However, the Centre has estimated it higher at 107.74 mt in the revised estimates.

Wheat prices surged to record highs this year and the government recently decided to offload 3 mt in the open market to cool down prices.

Despite lower production in the kharif season, rice production has been projected at a record 130.84 mt for 2022-23 (129.47 mt last year). For the kharif season, the ministry had projected the crop at 108.08 mt against 111 mt last year. This itself is over 3 mt higher than the first advance estimates released in September 2022. The Ministry has projected rabi rice production to rise to 22.76 mt against 18.47 mt a year ago.

The ministry has pegged coarse and nutri cereals output at 52.73 mt against 51.10 mt last year, a new record. Though kharif coarse and nutri cereals’ output is pegged higher at 37.2 mt from 36.13 mt a year earlier, it is still lower from the target of 40.6 mt.

Pulses output will likely be at a new high of 27.81 mt up from 27.30 mt. Again, kharif production has been estimated a notch lower at 8.16 mt from 8.24 mt year-ago. Overall kharif foodgrains harvest has been seen at 153.43 mt from 155.63 mt.

Production of oilseeds is projected to be a record 40 mt in the 2022-23 crop year against 37.96 mt in the previous year. Rapeseed and mustard production has been pegged at a record 12.82 mt for this year against 11.96 mt year-ago. Kharif oilseeds output, too, is likely to be 25.37 mt from 23.97 mt.