Govt revises grain output to record high of 275.68 million tonnes in FY17

The first normal southwest monsoon in 2016 after two years of drought had the central government issuing a revised upgrading of the country's overall foodgrain production in the 2016-17 crop year (ending this June 30) by 2.3 million tonnes, to a record 275.68 mt.

However, for the farmers, the bumper harvest has resulted in an acute drop in prices of many commodities, mainly pulses and oilseeds, leading to agitations in many parts, including some violence.

Sowing for the 2017-18 kharif season is on and with the southwest monsoon fairly normal in several parts, the country appears poised for another bumper harvest in most crops -- if the weather remains benign for the remaining few weeks.

An official statement on Wednesday said 2016-17 saw record production of rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses. Foodgrain production had declined to 251.57 mt in the 2015-16 crop year (July-June). The previous record of 265.04 mt was in the 2013-14 crop year.

The ministry of agriculture's earlier estimate for 2016-17 was 273.38 mt. The foodgrain basket comprises rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses. These are grown in the kharif (summer) and rabi (winter) season. The 2016-17 crop has been harvested.

Rice output is estimated to be a record 110.15 mt, from 104.41 mt the previous year. The earlier record was 106.65 mt in 2013-14. Wheat output is projected at a record 98.38 mt, from 92.29 mt last year. The previous high was 95.85 mt in 2013-14.

Coarse cereal output is pegged at a record 44.19 mt, from 38.52 mt in 2015-16; the previous record of 43.39 mt was in 2013-14. Among coarse cereals, maize was a record 26.26 mt in 2016-17.

Pulses production is also projected at a record 22.95 mt, as against 16.35 mt last year. The previous high was 19.25 mt in 2013-14.

In pulses, tur (red gram) and urad (black gram) output is estimated at a record 4.78 mt and 2.8 mt, respectively, in 2016-17; attributed also to better support prices.

Oilseed output increased to 32.1 mt, from 25.25 mt last year.

Among cash crops, the ministry said, "Despite lower area coverage during 2016-17, higher productivity of cotton has resulted in higher production of 33.09 million bales (of 170 kg each), as compared to 30.01 mn bales during 2015-16." However, sugarcane production is estimated to be lower by 12 per cent at 306.72 mt, as against 348.45 mt last year.

Jute/mesta output is projected to be higher marginally at 10.6 million bales (of 180 kg each), as against 10.52 mn bales in the earlier period.

The government issues four estimates before the final one, at different stages of harvesting. At present, farmers are sowing the new crop, the first estimate of which will be released by year-end.

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