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A normal monsoon in 2017, as predicted by IMD, will definitely boost the farm sector but good prices and market opportunities are equally important to ensure better income for farmers, renowned agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan said today. "Normal monsoon will certainly help achieve the production goals. Better price for the produce and marketing opportunities are equally important," he told PTI. Stating that one should not think monsoon in isolation, he said: "You have to think monsoon with market together. Farmers try to manage even during bad monsoon if they get good price for their produce." Swaminathan, regarded as father of India's Green Revolution, said more efforts need to be put to ensure farmers get good price during a normal monsoon. He said that farmers have reduced basmati rice acreage this year due to falling prices. "So, farmers' faith is determined by both monsoon and marketing." Stating that normal monsoon forecast bodes well for the country, Agriculture Secretary Shobhana Pattanayak said that the government hopes for "a successive good foodgrain production" in 2017-18. A lot of efforts are being put into implementing certain agri-schemes like crop insurance and e-marketing, among others. "The schemes will show better results with good monsoon forecast," he said. The government is hoping a record foodgrain output of over 272 million tonnes this year. The target for next year will be decided just before start of monsoon from June, he added. Agri-economist and former CACP Chairman Ashok Gulati said: "After suffering two droughts, this is the second normal monsoon. I hope the country will do better.
Hope farmers reap good harvest and get good prices. Hope the prices will not collapse the way they have this year." ICRA Ltd Principal Economist Aditi Nayar said the volume, timing and dispersion of monsoon rainfall in 2017 would be quite crucial. Higher rainfall in the early part of the monsoon may support sowing. However, adequate rainfall in the second half would be important for yields. "Although reservoir storage exceeds the level in 2016, it may not prove to be adequate to shield the crop sector, if monsoon rainfall turns out to be appreciably weaker than the IMD's initial forecast," he said. Reservoir storage is currently at around 31 per cent of full capacity, in line with the level in 2015. "Notwithstanding the modest contribution of agriculture to the overall GDP, the monsoon outlook would have some impact on consumption sentiment. "The impact of monsoon dynamics, as well as other inflation risks such as goods and services tax won't be clear for at least a few more months, which suggests a high likelihood of a prolonged pause for the policy rate. The RBI is likely to focus on liquidity management measures in the next few policies," he said in a statement. Industry body Assocham said that the IMD forecast of monsoon this year is a relief as doubts were cast on whether the country would get normal rains for the second year in succession or not. "In case the IMD forecast turns out to be correct, which it should, India would witness a robust agriculture growth continuously for two years, reaping a record 272 million tonnes of foodgrains (second advance estimates) during 2016-17. This would have several positives for the economy, including modest inflation and vibrancy in the GDP," said Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat. Ficci Secretary General A Didar Singh said, ""A better harvest could lead to improved incomes in the rural heartland that will translate into higher demand for all kinds of goods and services including FMCG, consumer durables, automotive etc. Besides giving a boost to the agricultural sector, a normal monsoon will add strength to the overall economic growth and this augurs well for the country.