Retail food inflation rose to 5.94% in January, 2023 from 4.19% reported in the previous month because of a spike in prices of cereals, milk, meat products and eggs.
Inflation in the ‘food and beverage’ category also rose to 6.19% in January, 2023 from 4.58% in December, 2022.
Wheat prices rose by a sharp 25.05% on year in January.
Wheat output in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June), as per the agriculture ministry, has declined by around 3% on year to 106.8 million tonne (mt) because of heat waves during the flowering stage of the crop in March last year.
In May, 2022, India banned wheat exports for ensuring domestic supplies
Rice prices rose by 10.44% in January, 2023 while prices saw an increase by 10.49% in the previous month.
India’s rice production in the current kharif season for the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) is expected to decline by around 6% to 104.99 mt against 111.76 mt in 2021-22, according to the first advance estimate of foodgrain production released by the agriculture ministry recently.
The government also banned broken rice exports as well as put additional export duties of 20% on the certain varieties of non-basmati rice exports.
Inflation in potatoes declined to 5.43% in January, 2023 from 10.05% in December, 2022. Potato prices are likely to soften with the commencement of arrival of new crop in the market as well in cold storage, a farmer from Agra told FE.
The country’s potato output in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) has declined to 53.6 mt from a record output of 56.1 mt in 2020-21.
However, traders say that prospects of a new potato crop which would be harvested next year would be higher because of better area expansion because of higher price realisation this year.
Onion price inflation was down 19.98% on year in January, 2023. Negative onion inflation last month was due to a bumper output of 31.12 mt in the 2021-22 crop year, against 26.64 mt in 2020-21.
Tomato prices fell by 36.2% in January 2023 as supplies have improved from the key producing states of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Chicken and milk inflation in January, 2023 rose by 9.07% and 8.79% respectively.
The edible oil and fat category saw a marginal inflation at 1.41% in January 2023, mostly contributed by decline in domestic prices of edible oil since May.
For mustard oil, prices declined by 7.7% in January 2023. Inflation in refined oil (sunflower, soybean and palm) was at 5.2% because of a decline in global prices of edible oil.
India imports about 58% of the total annual edible oil consumption of around 24 to 25 MT.
Chicken prices witnessed a moderate increase of 9.07% in January, 2023, while the overall food inflation in the meat and fish category was 6.04 %.