NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Two consecutive droughts and untimely rains last year have cut India’s farm output, pushing many farmers to destitution. Lower prices in local markets and a rout in global commodities have aggravated their woes.
As a result, India has resumed importing corn after a gap of 16 years. New Delhi now looks likely to import more food in the months to come, traders say.
Here are some facts about imports and exports of key farm products:
India exported 2.8 million tonnes in the fiscal year to March 2015 and now New Delhi is likely to import 2 million tonnes of corn in 2015/16 and again in 2016/17.
Domestic corn prices have shot up by about a quarter in the past six months, raising the cost of production of chickens by 44 percent.
After exporting 4.5 million tonnes of oilmeals to countries such as Iran, Japan, Korea and Taiwan in 2014/15, traders have clinched deals for less than a million tonnes in April-December. Oilmeal exports are not expected to cross a million tonnes in 2016/17.
India might also be forced to buy sugar in the next season beginning Oct. 1, 2016 due to lower output of sugarcane. The world’s No.2 sugar producer last imported in 2009/10, buying 4 million tonnes.
Imports of protein-rich lentils are expected at a record 5 million tonnes this fiscal year, with similar volumes expected next year.
Wheat stocks are enough for now, but expectations of lower output this year after a poor crop in 2015 has meant a 25 percent drawdown from state warehouses.
Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Mike Collett-White