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Govt targets over 270 million tonne grain output on good rains

The last highest food grain production was 265.04 million tonne, registered in 2013-14


Sanjeeb Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

Govt targets over 270 million tonne grain output on good rains

India hopes to produce a record 270.10 million tonne of food grains in the 2016-17 crop year that started in July, which will be around 2% more than the previous record and almost 7% more than grain output of 2015-16, on the back of best performance of southwest monsoon in the last more than two years.

The last highest food grain production was 265.04 million tonne, registered in 2013-14. Grain production in 2015-16 was around 253.23 million tonne.

Of this, rice production is estimated to be 108.50 million tonne in 2016-17 as against 103.36 million tonne in 2015-16.

Wheat production is expected to be around 96.50 million tonne, as against 94.04 million tonne in 2015-16, while pulses production is projected to be 20.75 million tonne in 2016-17, as against a production of 17.06 million tonne in 2015-16.

“If the rains remain as per forecast which is above normal, it will not only aid kharif planting, but will also provide adequate moisture to the soils for a good rabi harvest,” a senior agriculture ministry official said.

Food grains production in 2014-15 and 2015-16 had dipped to 252.02 million tonne and 253.23 million tone, respectively, mainly due to back to back droughts in 2014 and 2015, which happened for the fourth time in the last more than 100 years of recorded history.

As of now, the rains which are crucial for India’s agriculture as less than half of the total arable land is irrigated has made a steady progress across the mainland and has covered the entire country, on Wednesday, more than two days ahead of its scheduled date.

The rains though arrived a bit late, but made strong progress over most parts of India, mainly over the areas where oilseeds and pulses are growing in central and western India. However, in Gujarat, which is the main cotton and groundnut growing region of the country, showers have been till date around 44% less than normal, mainly over the Saurashtra region.

However, there is a strong possibility that the showers would improve over this part of the country as well in the next few weeks.

"After two bad years of deficit monsoon, the current year rainfall has brought cheers on the faces of Indian farmers. The rainfall was 4% excess LPA till July 13 while there was 11% deficit as on June 30. The sowing is in full swing from first week of July onwards and simultaneously the demand for pesticides are coming from all corners of the country. The second quarter is expected to be a bumper quarter for agri input companies and Dhanuka expects approximately 20% growth in this quarter,” MK Dhanuka, Managing Director, Dhanuka Agritech told Business Standard.

The Met department had in its second forecast for 2016 retained its above-normal prediction of 106% of the long period average (LPA), with heavy rains expected over northwest, central and south peninsular India. If the forecast comes true, India might get its heaviest monsoon rainfall since 1994.

IMD said rains in July and August were expected to be normal at 107% of the LPA and 104% of the LPA, respectively. The forecast comes with a model error of plus or minus 9%. Private weather forecaster Skymet, too, gave an above-normal forecast for 2016 monsoon.

India’s agriculture growth in the first two years of the Narendra Modi government had averaged 1.6% due to back-to-back droughts in 2014 and 2015, the fourth such instance in more than 100 years.

The drought had impacted more than 10 states, leading to widespread water scarcity. However, with the monsoon’s progress so far being largely on track, much of these worries should dissipate.

So far, the rains during the week ended Wednesday was around 11% more than normal, which has pushed the overall rains received so far in this season to 4% more than normal.

However, there were still pockets of distress, particularly in Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat, where the showers till date were almost 44% less than normal.

The rainfall over central India, which comprises Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh, has been almost 25% more than normal between June 1 and July 14.

The rains also lifted the water levels in more than 90-odd reservoirs to 22% of their full capacity, which were at 15% of their capacity for the last several weeks.

The monsoon had hit Kerala on June 8, seven days after its normal onset date, which marks the start of the rainy season in the country.

Chart (in million tonnes)
Crops 2016-17 (target) 2015-16 (third estimate)
Rice 108.5 103.36
Wheat 96.5 94.04
Cereals 44.35 37.78
Pulses 20.75 17.06
Total 270.1 253.23

NOTE: Total might not match as all crops have not been included

Source: Department of Agriculture

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First Published: Fri, July 15 2016. 11:43 IST