World wheat sowing may decline

Written by Commodities Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 29 2008, 06:33am hrs
As the country already started sowing wheat, a new global report on grain outlook predicted that the global wheat sowing to go down by 1.6% to 221.7 million hectare during 2008-9. The report attributes the reasons for decline as falling international wheat prices and higher input costs.

"Higher inputs costs and falling global wheat prices may force some farmers to turn to other crops," International Grain Council (IGC), a London based organization said in its Grain Market Report released on Thursday.

However, according to IGC, there is no change in the 2008 global production estimate of 683 million tonne, a rise of 73 million tonne from the 2007 figure. The total global wheat consumption is forecasted to be less by one million tonne during 2008-9 at 650 million tonne.

"Higher production in the European Union is being offset by further reductions in Australia, where late rains are disrupting harvesting," the council said. While the wheat quality in several other countries has been affected by poor harvesting weather, prospects are also favourable in European Union, Asia, western Russian and Ukraine.

The report also said that difficult financial and economic conditions are expected to slow food used growth in developing countries.

The target of raising the wheat area by one million hectare this year in India would be achieved, as a number of non-traditional wheat growing states like Bihar, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh would expand cultivation. The wheat acreage last year was around 28 million hectare in 2007.

According to the ministry of agriculture figure, India's wheat production during 2007-08 was close to 77 million tonne against the previous year's 75.81 million tonne.