The government today said it is mulling allowing wheat exports as the country is braced for a record wheat production this year.

“We are thinking about it (wheat exports). The decision may be taken by April-end or May,” Minister of State for Agriculture Arun S. Yadav told reporters on the sidelines of the north zone conference on agri-cooperatives.

The exports would be considered only after ensuring the domestic demand is fully met, he said.

As per the official estimates, the country’s wheat production is expected to be a record 81.4 million tonnes this year, as against 80.80 million tonnes in 2009-10 (July—June).

The wheat harvesting has begun in some States and even FCI, the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrains, has started buying wheat from farmers at a minimum support price (MSP), the minister said.

According to the FCI data, the arrivals of wheat crop so far in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have been only 2.4 lakh tonnes as compared to 4.93 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period.

Despite low arrival, the FCI has procured over 1.57 lakh tonnes of wheat largely from Madhya Pradesh and only 40 tonnes from Gujarat so far.

Wheat procurement is likely to begin in Punjab and Haryana from April 1, an FCI official said.

FCI has set a higher procurement target of 26.2 million tonnes for 2011-12 marketing year (April—March), as against 22.51 million tonnes last year.

The bulk of the procurement is being done between April and June. Wheat is grown in Rabi (winter) season.

On cotton, the minister said the country is heading for a bumper production in 2011-12.

“Cotton output in the next year will be 10 per cent more than 2010-11,” Mr. Yadav said.

Cotton production stood at 33.9 million bales (170 kg each)in 2010-11 crop year (July—June), as per the government’s second advance estimate released in February.