India’s foodgrain production is estimated to increase marginally to 253.16 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year on likely improvement in output of wheat and pulses despite back-to-back drought.
The estimate is, however, lower than the record 265.04 million tonnes (MT) in the 2013-14 crop year (July-June), but slightly better than 252.02 MT achieved last year. Wheat, rice, coarse cereals and pulses are part of the foodgrain basket.
“Overall foodgrain output is likely to be better than last year despite deficit monsoon for two straight years. Since February-March is crucial for wheat crops, we hope there would be no unseasonal weather conditions like hailstorm that we witnessed last year,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh told PTI in an interview.
This year, rainfall deficiency was 14 per cent. Timely contingency measures and promotion of better crop varieties restricted loss in production, he said, adding that there was also shift to other crops from wheat.
Barring wheat and pulses, production of coarse cereals, oilseeds, cotton, jute and sugarcane is estimated to be lower in 2015-16, as per the second advance estimate of the Agriculture Ministry to be released this week.
Wheat output is projected to go up by 8.42 per cent to 93.82 MT in 2015-16, from 86.53 MT in the previous year.
Pulse output is also estimated to increase marginally to 17.33 MT this year from last year’s 17.15 MT though it’s still not sufficient to meet domestic demand.
Production of rice, a major kharif crop, is however projected to drop by 2 per cent to 103.61 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year, from 105.48 million tonnes in previous year.
As per the estimate, coarse cereal production is expected to decline 4.46 MT to 38.40 MT this year while that of oilseed output is projected to drop to 26.33 MT from 27.51 MT in the said period.
Sugarcane production is pegged lower at 346.3 million tonnes, cotton at 30.69 million bales of 170 kg each and jute at 10.40 million bales of 180 kg each.
Although agriculture contributes only about 13-14 per cent to the country’s GDP, about 50 per cent of the population is dependent on the farm sector. MORE PTI LUX ARD ABM 02141303 Similarly, urad dal production is also likely to decline to 1.74 MT from 1.96 MT in the said period, impacted by deficit rains.
However, production of gram dal is pegged higher at 8.09 MT in 2015-16 as against 7.33 MT while that of moong production is estimated to increase marginally to 1.55 MT from 1.50 MT in the said period.
Pulses are largely grown in rain-fed areas. The deficit rains for the second consecutive year have affected the crops.
Going by estimates, it is apparent that there will be a supply crunch in pulses this year as well, which would continue to put pressure on prices.
Among oilseeds, soyabean output is estimated to decline to 9.13 MT in 2015-16, from 10.37 MT in the previous year while the groundnut production is expected to fall marginally to 7.18 MT, from 7.40 MT in the said period.