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India Seen Having Grain Surplus of 15.7 Million Tons by FAO

India, the world’s second-most populous country, is expected to have a grain surplus of 15.7 million metric tons in the year through March that would be available for export, the Food & Agriculture Organization said.

The 2012-13 surplus will include 7.7 million tons of rice, about 5 million tons of wheat and 3 million tons of corn, the Rome-based United Nations’ agency wrote in a report on its website today.

India is expected to overtake Thailand as the world’s biggest rice exporter in 2012 with shipments of more than 9 million tons, while Thai exports are forecast to again exceed India’s next year, the FAO said.

Planting of wheat and rice for the Rabi season spring harvest is almost completed, the FAO reported. Rainfall has been deficient to scanty in producing states Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana in the north west, Bihar and West Bengal in the northeast and Karnataka in the south, the agency wrote.

Most of the wheat and paddy rice is irrigated this season, and abundant rains in the second part of the monsoon season helped replenish water reserves for irrigation and boost soil moisture, according to the report.

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