Indian Government Said to Estimate Lower Food-Grain Production

India, the second-biggest grower of wheat and rice, may estimate that the food-grain harvest in 2012-2013 will drop 3.8 percent from a year earlier after a below-average monsoon, said two officials with direct knowledge.

Farmers may reap about 250 million metric tons in the year ending June 30, from a record 260 million tons, said the two government officials, asking not to be identified before the forecast is released in the first week of February. The wheat crop should be 90 million tons to 93 million tons, they said. The harvest was a record 93.9 million tons in 2011-2012, according to the farm ministry.

Manoj Pandey, a spokesman for the ministry, declined to comment on the output figures.

Production of food grains sown during the monsoon and harvested from October may drop 9.8 percent to 117.18 million tons, according to the ministry’s estimate. The grains include rice, corn and lentils. Harvesting of wheat, the biggest winter- sown crop, usually begins in March.

Even a smaller food-grain harvest should be enough to meet domestic demand after two consecutive years of rising output. State reserves of rice and wheat were 66.7 million tons as of Jan. 1, compared with the government’s buffer requirement of 25 million tons, according to the Food Corp. of India.

To contact the reporters on this story: Pratik Parija in New Delhi at pparija@bloomberg.net; Prabhudatta Mishra in New Delhi at pmishra8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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