The government is mulling over a plan to double the import duty on wheat from the present 20 percent in order to rule out any chances of cheaper imports flooding the markets later as crop harvesting has just begun in the country, Financial Express reported. A meeting of secretaries of food, agriculture and commerce ministries with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is expected to take place on February 15, the report cited unidentified sources. In FY16-17, India imported 5.75 million tonne of wheat. Import of 518,000 tonne was made in 2015-16. As per official data, India imported 1.15 million tonne of wheat during April-October.
After the Madhya Pradesh government announced the bonus of `200/quintal, millers expect local wheat prices to go up from the previous Bengaluru price level of around `20,200/tonne. If it becomes economically viable, some import contracts may take place in next 15 days, traders said. In the current rabi season, sowing area for wheat has reduced to 30.43 million hectare against 31.78 million hectare in 20161-7 crop year (July-June).
Eyeing higher returns many farmers in Madhya Pradesh has shifted to chana in order to reap good returns. The wheat acreage has reduced to 4.3 percent in the current rabi season in Madhya Pradesh. However, the government is hopeful that produce will be good this season and imports would not be needed to fill the production gap.
Wheat prices have remained subdued as the new crop has started arriving in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The arrival is a little earlier than normal schedule amid expectations of a bumper harvest in the country.