Thanks to normal monsoon rains last year after two consecutive years of ‘deficient’ rainfall, India’s foodgrain production is estimated to touch an all-time high of 273.38 million tonne (MT) in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June), which is 8.7% more than the previous year. The previous record output was 265.04 MT in 2013-14.
According to the third advance estimate released on Tuesday by agriculture ministry, the output of rice, wheat, coarse grains (jowar, bajra, maize, ragi and millets) and pulses (like tur, gram, urad and moong) during the 2016-17 crop year will be at a record level.
“As a result of very good rainfall during monsoon 2016 and various policy initiatives taken by the government, the country has witnessed a record foodgrain production in the current year,” an official statement said.The ministry releases four estimates at different stages of crop growth before the final figures which are usually released in July.
The wheat output is estimated at a record 97.44 MT in the current crop year, which is an upward revision from 96.64 MT estimated in the second advance estimate released in February earlier this year. Last year the wheat output was estimated at 92.29 MT.
Similarly, rice output rose to 109.15 MT in 2016-17 crop year, while the previous record was 106.65 MT in 2013-14.Mainly supported by higher minimum support price (MSP) offered to farmers as prices skyrocketed a year ago, the pulses output has increased significantly to 22.4 MT in 2016-17 from 16.35 MT last year. Previous record in pulses was 19.25 MT in 2013-14.
In case of oilseed, the output this crop year is estimated to be 32.52 MT as against 25.25 MT reported in the previous year. In case of cash crop like cotton, the production is estimated to increase to 32.58 million bales (of 170 kg each) in 2016-17 from 30.01 million bales last year. The sugarcane output is pegged at 306.03 MT, which is lower by 12.17% than the last year’s production of 348.45 MT.
Meanwhile, wheat purchase by Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies for the ongoing rabi marketing season (2017-18) from farmers on Wednesday crossed 26.6 MT which more than total seasonal procurement in 2016-17 marketing season (April-June) of 23 MT. This higher volume of wheat procurement is due to record production and it would replenish depleted grain stocks with FCI.
FCI carries out procurement of rice and wheat for implementation of National Food Security Act and for maintaining buffer stocks. The excess stocks of wheat is subsequently sold to bulk buyers under open market sale scheme after procurement gets over.
Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, on Monday, wrote to states for getting ready for any weather related contingency in advance so that the possible adverse impact of a sub-par monsoon rainfall on the farmers can be mitigated.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) had projected a likely rainfall of 96% (+- 5%) of the long period average in its first stage forecast for the south-west Monsoon released last month. An updated forecast will be issued by IMD in June, 2017 with details of temporal (monthly) and regional distribution of monsoon rainfall.