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India slashes wheat output estimate by 4.4% as heat-wave dents yields

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A farmer harvests wheat in Visalpur village
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MUMBAI (Reuters) - India is likely to harvest 106.41 million tonnes of wheat in 2022, nearly 4.4% lower than the previous estimate, the farm ministry said on Thursday, as a sudden rise in temperatures during the grain maturity stage slashed yields.

The world's second biggest wheat producer was earlier projected to harvest a record 111.32 million tonnes this year. The reduction in output and more than 50% drop in government procurement prompted New Delhi to ban wheat exports on Saturday.

Traders are estimating wheat output could fall to around 100 million tonnes in 2022 based on lower supplies in spot markets.

Meanwhile, India raised its rice production estimate for 2021/22 to a record 129.66 million tonnes from an earlier estimate of 127.93 million tonnes, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said in a statement.

The country is the world's biggest exporter of rice.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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