India wakes up to prospects of prolonged global wheat shortage


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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, July 5: The Central government is gearing up to meet the challenge of deepening wheat shortage in the world, which may last at least a couple of years, informed sources told The Raisina Hills.

The Central government has assessed that the global wheat crisis will persist due to multiple factors, principally the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and the climate change.

The Centre has told the state governments to push for increase paddy acreage in the ongoing Kharif sowing season.

The government’s consistent stance to encourage the farmers to go for the diversification of crops is now being reworked, and the state governments are being told to promote sowing of the paddy and wheat in the Winter season.

Paddy is a water guzzling crop along with sugarcane, and the Centre has in the recent years been making attempts to encourage to diversify their crops and opt for pulses, oilseeds and others.

However, the Centre still maintains that the farmers should grow more pulses and oilseeds, since India has shortage of domestic productions and the governments wants their imports substituted by the farmers’ growing them more within the country.

However, the top concern within the government is that the Russian invasion of Ukraine will not end so soon, which has gained prominence within the Narendra Modi-led NDA dispensation at the Centre after Prime Minister’s return from Germany where he attended the G7 Summit, informed sources said.

Russia and Ukraine are known to be the global wheat bowl, and the disruptions in the supply of the grains in the world market may cause food shortage in several countries, making the poor and low-income nations more vulnerable.

The government is also concerned for the fact that the climate change reality is now more visible, and the wheat production will be the first to take the heat as has been seen in several countries, including Pakistan, where wheat is the most popular stable food, the production is said to have taken a 20 per cent hit.

In India, while there’s no official word on the potential squeeze in the wheat productions, the officials roughly claim that it would be a minimum 7-10 per cent.

Additionally, wheat export is an integral part of the Indian diplomacy, as New Delhi sends shipments to friendly countries who are in dire needs of the grains.

In addition, there is also an assessment that the paddy crops will also take a hit in the current year. The spread of Monsoon is also being seen uneven, with a number of states, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Bihar and Jharkhand receiving much less rainfalls in the ongoing rainy season.

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