tonnes of grain stocks as of April 1, more than double the buffer requirements. Supplies of sugar, which had to be imported in large quantities at zero duty after the 2009 drought, remain plentiful due to a fourth straight year of rising production through 2013-14. However, pulses and edible oils face the maximum risk of a price rise in case of a likely drop in domestic production, as the country imports nearly one-fifth of its pulses and more than 50% of edible oils requirement annually. Vegetable oil stocks, at ports and in the pipelines, hit 12 million tonnes as of April 1, slightly lower than a year before.
While there is no cause for panic as the government has prepared district-specific contingency plans, it should ensure sufficient availability of seeds, particularly of short-duration crop varieties in case of below-normal monsoon, said Ramesh Chand, director at the state-run National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research.