Field report

Written by Reuters | Updated: Mar 30 2011, 06:06am hrs
India, the worlds second-biggest wheat producer after China, may start exports again after a four-year hiatus as it heads for record production in 2011

* India banned wheat exports in February 2007 to protect domestic supplies after weather damaged output. It briefly lifted the export ban in July 2009, for 10 days, until weather concerns again emerged

* Indias output this year is expected to be about 82 million tonne, putting it second globally to China, which produced some 115 million tonne last year. The US and Russia vie for third place at about 55 million tonne each

* Annual demand in India is usually around 76 million tonne. This year, consumption will include 26 million tonne bought by the government for subsidised sale to the poor

* India ranks second in consumption, also, to Chinawhere demand is over 100 million tonne. Third-placed Russia consumes about 35.5 million tonne

* Generous subsidised payments to farmers from the government have encouraged them to plant more acres with wheat despite static demand

* The governments procurement agency Food Corp of India buys wheat between March and May at pre-set prices. This practice has encouraged farmers to plant increasingly large areas to wheat, in turn contributing to overflowing storage

* Wheat stocks in India on March 1 totalled 17.2 million tonne, more than double the governments target of 8.2 million tonne

* Overflowing storage bins have forced the government to store grain under tarpaulin, leading to some rot and decay

* Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar called for limited exports of wheat, rice and sugar last month, saying India had ample stocks, world prices were strong and the harvest looked favourable

* India grows only one wheat crop per year, planted in October with the harvest starting in March. Wheat is grown mainly in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana