The state is all set to harvest bumper wheat crop this Rabi season due to favourable weather conditions. The wheat output could go up by 20% as compared to last year, a senior scientist told HT on Saturday.
MP is the second largest wheat producer in India after Punjab. "Favourable weather conditions and the recent spell of rains could lead to a 20% rise in wheat output," said Dr AN Mishra, head, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) Regional Station, Indore.
Last year, MP's wheat production was estimated at over 17 million metric tonnes. "The recent spell of rains will especially benefit wheat sown in November," he said.
According to the state agriculture department, the area under wheat had crossed 56.6 lakh hectares by December 31, 2014. The wheat sowing starts in October and is over by early January.
"Initially, sowing was slow due to tepid winter in the state but picked up as mercury dipped in the second week of December," an official said. The state government has embarked upon a multi-pronged strategy to boost agriculture production. Officials said focus on irrigation, warehousing, infrastructure, credit management had yielded results in the past few years.
Wheat production in the state has crossed 17 million metric tonnes from 6.74 million metric tonnes in 2007-08. Improved seed replacement rate has also played a major role in increasing wheat production in the state during the past seven years.
However, fertilizer supply management remains a weak area as was evident from the recent spate of protests by farmers over the shortage of urea. The recent rains in central India have come as a boon for the standing rabi crops, which, in the absence of adequate pre-winter showers and low monsoon, were threatening to be below par.
The new crop arrival begins in the last week of March and the large quantities of wheat reach the markets in April. Good harvest this year could also lead to greater contribution from the state to the Central pool.
Madhya Pradesh is also known for producing superior varieties of wheat that are sold at a premium in domestic and exports markets. Sharbati production accounts for nearly 1.5 million tonnes while Durum production ranges between 0.5 and 0.8 million tonnes.