Wheat costs in India have soared to a report excessive in agricultural produce advertising committee (APMC) yards and wholesale shops regardless of arrivals throughout October 1-30 rising to a 7-year excessive.
The event comes amidst world wheat costs rising 5 per cent on Monday after Russia mentioned it was withdrawing from the UN-brokered deal to allow grain exports within the Black Sea area.
“Wheat is delivered to flour mills in Delhi at ₹2,700 a quintal. For mills in Bengaluru, the worth is ₹2,900-2,980,” mentioned Pramod Kumar, President, Curler Flour Mills Federation of India.
Retail costs down
“Haryana is presently feeding the nation with wheat. Punjab has no wheat and we’re not capable of perceive the place the wheat from Uttar Pradesh has gone,” mentioned Adi Narayan Gupta, a Delhi-based flour miller.
In response to Agmarket, a unit of the Agriculture Ministry, arrivals throughout October 1-30 have been 8.13 lakh tonnes (lt) — the very best after 9.76 lt in 2015. For the whole season beginning April 1, arrivals at 21.71 million tonnes (mt) are at a three-year excessive for the reason that 23.73 mt influx in 2019.
Wheat costs at APMC yards within the third week of October elevated to ₹2,570.3 a quintal in contrast with ₹2,400.74 within the final week of September and ₹2,465.17 within the third week of September. Costs are nicely above the minimal assist worth (MSP) of ₹2,015. Final 12 months, wholesale costs of the grain within the final week of October have been at ₹2,068.4.
In response to the Division of Shopper Affairs, the retail worth of wheat on October 30 was ₹30.37 a kg — down from ₹30.99 a month in the past. Throughout the identical interval a 12 months in the past, the worth was ₹27.63. Wheat flour (atta) costs are decrease at ₹35.13 a kg from ₹36.13 a month in the past. A 12 months in the past, it was ₹30.81.
Two causes for surge
Millers and analysts attribute two causes for the surge regardless of increased arrivals. One is that many mills would not have shares that may assist them handle the state of affairs until the brand new wheat crop is harvested in February-end or early March.
The Centre not releasing wheat underneath the open market sale scheme (OMSS) this 12 months is the opposite cause for the spike. OMSS helped mills procure the uncooked materials at a low price and thus management market costs and inflation.
“Total wheat availability is low since we’re discounting the quantity of the foodgrain that was exported throughout March-Might earlier than the Centre banned shipments,” mentioned S Chandrasekaran, an analyst.
Throughout April-July this fiscal, 3.83 mt of wheat have been exported in contrast with 1.49 mt within the year-ago interval. Although the Centre banned wheat exports from Might 13, it has been allowing shipments of the grain for which irrevocable letters of credit score have been signed earlier than Might 12.
“Possibly, manufacturing may very well be decrease than the federal government’s estimates by a number of million tonnes. Additionally, the Meals Company of India (FCI) may have silently purchased extra wheat,” the analysts mentioned.
In response to the fourth advance estimate of the Ministry of Agriculture, wheat manufacturing this 12 months is 106.84 mt towards 109.59 mt the earlier 12 months. It was decrease than preliminary estimates of a report 111.34 mt.
Wheat manufacturing this 12 months was affected by a heatwave that swept throughout the rising areas throughout March-April. The heatwave resulted in shrivelling of the grains.
The FCI procured 18.79 mt of wheat this 12 months in contrast with 43.44 mt final 12 months. Meals Ministry officers mentioned the 25 mt that might not be procured must come to the market however the analyst and stakeholders are sceptical.
“The Centre might should launch wheat underneath OMSS to regulate the worth rise. It may launch 2-3 mt of wheat to regulate instantly,” mentioned Kumar.
“The wheat shares the Centre expects to have might not be enough to satisfy the demand. The market may want 7-8 mt of wheat together with for distribution via the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) and Nationwide Meals Safety Act (NFSA) schemes,” mentioned Sandeep Bansal of Grain Flour India Pvt Ltd.
Imports could also be expensive
Underneath each these schemes, the beneath poverty line persons are provided grains freed from price.
“In all probability, wheat from UP which we are saying is lacking may hit the markets in December,” mentioned Gupta.
However Chandrasekaran mentioned nobody would danger holding wheat for that lengthy, notably when rates of interest have been rising.
Bansal mentioned 2.63 mt of wheat could be required for PMGKAY and NFSA. “In all probability, the Centre must dip into the buffer shares. Or search for government-to-government imports,” he mentioned.
Nevertheless, imports may very well be a expensive proposition presently with world costs rising to $8.71 a bushel ($320.26/₹26,525 a tonne) as of Monday.
Millers are, nevertheless, hopeful that the state of affairs could be managed if shares can final till January-end. They anticipate the brand new wheat crop to come back in early.
In response to the Agriculture Ministry, farmers have gone in for early sowing of wheat which may keep away from this 12 months’s bitter expertise of heatwave affecting the crop. The world underneath the crop, too, is witnessing a rise.