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MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Indian farmers have so far planted wheat and rapeseed on nearly 15% more area than a year ago, the latest data from the farm ministry showed, as planting of winter-sown crops accelerated. Higher wheat production in India, the world’s second biggest producer of the staple, could help New Delhi to lower prices and replenish inventories that have fallen to a multi-year low.

A rise in rapeseed output could help the world’s biggest edible oil importer to reduce overseas buying of palm oil, soyoil and sunflower oil. Wheat was planted on 10.1 million hectares as of Nov. 18, up from last year’s 8.8 million hectares, provisional data released by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare showed.

India grows only wheat crop in a year, with planting in October and November, and harvests from the end of February. India was forced to ban exports of the staple in May this year, after a sudden rise in temperatures in March cut crop yields.

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