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2 May, 2022 14:59

Major global breadbasket fears crop slump

India’s record heat wave threatens wheat exports amid existing shortage concerns
Major global breadbasket fears crop slump

The world’s second-largest wheat producer, India, is facing a drop in wheat output this year due to the unusually hot weather in March, Reuters reported on Monday.

The country saw five consecutive years of record wheat harvests, and officials were expecting another record yield this year, hoping to step up exports amid supply disruptions due to the Ukraine crisis, Reuters said.

In the fiscal year to March, India exported a record 7.85 million tonnes of wheat – up 275% from the previous year – and was planning to export 12 million tonnes this fiscal year. However, an official note from the government seen by Reuters estimates that the harvest will be at least 6% less than expected, threatening the export plans.

India recorded its warmest March in 122 years this year, with the maximum temperature across the country rising nearly two degrees above normal to 33.1C (91.58F), according to data from the country’s Meteorological Department.

Grain prices have hit record highs in recent months due to supply shortage concerns as a result of Russia’s military action in Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine account for around 30% of global wheat exports, and are among the biggest wheat suppliers for Europe. Analysts have been voicing concerns that the current situation may lead to a full-blown global food crisis. In April, Russia hiked the wheat export tax to a historic high, but continued to export grain to some of its biggest customers, including Egypt, Turkey, and Iran.

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