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India’s food inflation is among the lowest in the world; Rabi season expected to yield higher

India’s food inflation in December fell to 4.19 per cent, the lowest of the year and one of the lowest in the world, despite the growing challenges facing the global food sector. The country’s policymakers will be greatly relieved by this at a time when global concerns about food production and security have grown.

Vegetable, pulse, and edible oil prices all fell in tandem with the decline in food inflation. In December 2022, food prices increased by 4.8% year-over-year in China, while food inflation was 7.9% in Bangladesh, 64.4% in Sri Lanka, and 7.38 per cent in Nepal in November in other South Asian nations. In December, food costs in Pakistan increased by 35.5%. Japan’s food inflation in November was 6.9%, while South Korea’s was 5.23 per cent in December, among other Asian economies.

The United States experienced food inflation in December, which was 10.4% higher than the average for developed Western economies. In December, annual food inflation in the UK increased by 13.3%.

The “tectonic shift” in farmers’ sowing practices was primarily to blame for the decline in vegetable prices, according to a State Bank of India report.

Rabi crops have expanded from 457.80 lakh hectares to 526.27 lakh hectares. This year’s difference of 68.47 lakh hectares is 15% higher than during the same time in 2021 and 2022. While all crops experience an increase in area, wheat sowing experiences the greatest increase.

According to an official statement, the increase in wheat area from 203.91 to 255.76 lakh hectares, out of the 68.47 lakh hectares of increase in all rabi crops, is 51.85 lakh hectares.

Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, a Senior Adjunct Fellow at RIS (Research and Information System for Developing Countries), said, “As of now, it is a very comfortable position for India, but we also need to be watchful of the weather conditions going ahead. We have seen how weather conditions are changing dramatically, and untimely rains, say around March — can damage Rabi harvest.”

Rabi crops are usually planted after the monsoon season until November when they are harvested.

In November, food inflation in India was 4.67 per cent. The overall CPI inflation fell to a new low of 5.72 per cent in December as a result of the pattern that was observed in the previous month’s price movements for vegetables. The Reserve Bank of India will have ample room to once more concentrate on economic growth as a result of the overall inflation drop.

An analyst quoted, “Even if the interest rates do not reduce, we can expect a halt with the inflation numbers.”

Farmers in north India, particularly in Punjab and Haryana, are anticipated to benefit even more from the current cold wave. However, an untimely downpour could ruin the party.

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