India’s foodgrain production during the crop year that ended in June is expected to be a record 284.83 million tonnes (MT), almost 2 per cent more than the last estimate (in June) and 9.72 MT more than
2016-17, fuelling hope that overall farm growth in 2017-18 could be higher than the current estimates of 3.4 per cent.
The rise, however, hasn’t been beneficial for growers because the price of several commodities, particularly pulses, slumped due to the bumper harvest.
“In hindsight, the price fall in pulses and other crops was justified because of the bumper harvest,” said Agriculture Secretary S K Pattanayak.
The previous record grain output was 275.11 MT in the 2016-17 crop year. The foodgrain basket comprises rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses. Wheat output has been pegged at a record 99.7 MT, rice at 112.91 MT, and pulses at 25.23 MT for the 2017-18 crop year.
“As a result of near-normal rainfall during the monsoon of 2017 and various policy initiatives, the country has witnessed a record foodgrain production in 2017-18,” the ministry said in a statement.
Data released by the Department of Agriculture showed that the major gains have been in pulses, where production in 2017-18 is now estimated at an all-time high of 25.23 MT, around 2.1 MT more than the final production of 2016-17. For the second straight year, India’s pulses production has been over the estimated consumption of 22 MT, raising hopes that if the trend continues, the country could become self-sufficient.
“Pulses production in all likelihood might not go down below 23 MT in the worst of conditions, but oilseeds output remains a challenge,” another senior official commented.
Wheat production has been revised upward by 1.06 MT to a record 99.70 MT for the 2017-18 crop year from its previous projection. In 2016-17, wheat output stood at 98.51 MT. Similarly, rice output for 2017-18 has been revised by 1.39 MT to a record 112.91 MT from its previous estimate, higher than 109.70 MT achieved in 2016-17. Production of coarse cereals has been revised upward by 2.12 MT to record 46.99 MT from its previous projection made for 2017-18 and is higher than the 43.77 MT during 2016-17.
Oilseeds production in 2017-18 has also been revised upward to 31.31 MT for 2017-18 crop year, marginally higher than 31.28 MT in the previous year. In case of cash crops, sugarcane output has been revised upward by 21.9 MT to a record 376.9 MT from its previous projection made for 2017-18. The output stood at 306 MT during 2016-17.
Cotton output has been pegged at 34.89 million bales (of 170 kg each) for 2017-18 as against 32.58 million bales during 2016-17. The ministry releases total five estimates of foodgrain production at different stages of crop growth.
The final estimate for 2017-18 will be released along with first estimate for the new 2018-19 crop year. The kharif sowing is underway at present.