Government likely to review export policy of grains in August.

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grain-shortage-in-monsoonJuly 19, New Delhi: The Central government will review its export rules of grains and check the stock holding limits of the traders, as the grain prices in India is raised to an optimum in recent years due to bad monsoon.

“I am concerned about the deficient rain,” Food Minister K.V. Thomas told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday. “We will get a clear picture about the situation after 15 days.”

Thomas indicated that the concern about the rise in prices in domestic market and speculation playing on bad monsoon may be pushing the government to think differently. The minister said, “We will examine the option of imposing stock holding limits on food commodities. What we are worried is about the pulses because pulses production will possibly come down. So, we are proposing some steps.”

The monsoon, which represents more than 70 percent of annual rainfall, was 22 percent less than the 50-year average over June 1 to July 18, delaying sowing of corn and rice crops. Weather in July, the wettest month in the June-September rainy season, may miss a forecast of normal rain, L.S. Rathore, director general of the India Meteorological Department, said in an interview on July 16.

Rain may revive over parts of central and western India in the next three days, while the deficit in northwest India, Gujarat, interior Karnataka and west Rajasthan may persist, D.S. Pai, head of long-range forecasting division at the weather bureau, said today.

“With the monsoon playing hide and seek, it is a challenge for our farmers and scientists to maintain the food-grain output achieved in the last two years,” Farm Minister Sharad Pawar said July 16 in New Delhi. The country won’t ban exports of rice and wheat as it has ample stockpiles, he said.

Food-grain production reached a record 257.44 million tons in the year ended June 30 after a second year of normal rains boosted harvests, the farm ministry said. That prompted the government to lift curbs on exports of rice and wheat last year.

Rice planting dropped 19 percent to 9.68 million hectares (24 million acres) this year from 12.04 million hectares a year earlier, the farm ministry said July 13. The oilseeds area declined 22 percent to 6.77 million hectares from a year earlier, while corn was sown over 2.17 million hectares, less than the 3.13 million hectares a year earlier, it said.

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