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Here’s why pulses to other food prices likely to plunge

Supported by good monsoon, the country’s kharif foodgrain production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is estimated to be a record 135.03 million tonne (MT), up 9% from the previous crop year.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: September 23, 2016 9:21 AM
According to the first advance estimate of kharif crops — rice, pulses, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane — released on Thursday by the agriculture ministry, there would be a record output of rice and pulses.  (Reuters) According to the first advance estimate of kharif crops — rice, pulses, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane — released on Thursday by the agriculture ministry, there would be a record output of rice and pulses. (Reuters)

Supported by good monsoon, the country’s kharif foodgrain production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is estimated to be a record 135.03 million tonne (MT), up 9% from the previous crop year.

According to the first advance estimate of kharif crops — rice, pulses, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane — released on Thursday by the agriculture ministry, there would be a record output of rice and pulses. Besides, production of most of other kharif crops would be higher than last year. Experts say the higher output of pulses will help soften retail prices, which witnessed a spike earlier this year.

According to the data, the rice production is estimated at an all-time high of 93.88 MT in the current kharif season as against 91.31 MT in the last season. The output of kharif pulses is estimated at a record 8.7 MT, up by a huge 57%, from 5.54 MT last season. Around 40 to 45% of the total pulses grown annually are during the kharif season. Overall during 2016-17 crop year, the government is expecting a pulse production of around 20 MT which is around 21% more than the previous year.

“Higher market price and an increase in the minimum support price encouraged farmers to boost pulse cultivation,” an agriculture ministry official said. The official also said that due to widespread monsoon rainfall, area and yield of most of the kharif crops is expected to be higher.

Of pulses, production figures of tur and urad are pegged at record 4.29 MT and 2.01 MT respectively in the ongoing kharif season. As per the first estimate, oilseeds production has been pegged at record 23.36 MT, as against 16.59 MT in the last kharif season.

Among oilseeds, soyabean output is estimated at 14.22 MT this kharif season as against 8.59 MT in the year-ago period. Similarly, groundnut production is estimated to increase to 6.49 MT from 5.34 MT in the said period. After two consecutive years of deficient monsoon, the country received almost normal southwest monsoon rains this year, which has boosted sowing of kharif crops.

According to data released till last week by the ministry, the kharif crops sowing so far has surpassed last year’s sowing by close to 4%. With the exception of sowing of cotton and sugarcane which are down by 11% and 7% respectively, all the key kharif crops cultivation has exceeded last year’s figure.

The ministry has set the country’s grain production target at a record 270.10 MT for the 2016-17 crop year, up 6.7% from the actual grain production of 253.23 MT in 2015-16.

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