After achieving a record ever pulses production in the 2016-17 crop year (July-June), the government would focus on increasing palm oilseeds cultivation in the next couple of years so that the country’s dependence on imports of edible oil could be reduced significantly.
“In the next two to three years, we will be achieving self-reliance in pulses output and we have started to provide incentives in mission mode for oil palm cultivation so that more farmers grow palm tree,” agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on Monday.
The Cabinet had approved relaxation in restrictions for providing assistance to more than 25 hectare area also under National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm to attract corporate bodies towards oil palm and derive maximum benefit of 100% FDI.
Earlier, oil palm development programme was being promoted in individual farmer’s field and there was no scope to provide assistance directly to private entrepreneurs, cooperative bodies, joint ventures for large scale plantation.
The pulses production during 2016-17, is estimate to be at a record 22.4 million tonnes (MT) which is around 37% more than the previous year.
The annual consumption of pulses is around 24 to 25 MT.
Singh also said that foodgrain output is likely to touch a new record in the 2017-18 crop year (July-June) mainly in anticipation of a normal monsoon for the second consecutive year.
“The Met department has forecast normal monsoon for this year. If monsoon is good, I am confident that foodgrain output will be record again and boost growth rate to more than 4.4% achieved in 2016-17,” Singh said at a function.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its first monsoon forecast released last month had predicted that ‘normal’ rainfall this year at 96% of the benchmark Long Period Average (LPA), with a model error of ± 5%.
IMD will release the second forecast for the season in the first week of June.
Last year, the IMD had made an initial forecast of ‘above normal’ rainfall of 106% of LPA, but the actual cumulative rainfall was 97% of the LPA, which falls in ‘normal’ category.
Because of normal rainfall last year, the country’s foodgrains production in 2016-17 crop year is estimated to reach an all-time record of 273.38 million tonne (MT), which is 8.7% more than last the previous year.
Due to two consecutive years of deficient monsoons (2014 & 2015), the foodgrains production went down to 252 MT in 2014-15 and 2015-16 crop years from 265 MT reported in 2013-14.