Kharif foodgrain production likely to be record 144.52 mn tonnes in 2020-21: Agri Min

By: |
October 16, 2020 5:13 PM

On new farm laws, the minister asserted that farmers are being "misled" about the reforms and reiterated that procurement at minimum support price as well as mandis will continue to function across the country.

Currently, harvesting of kharif crops is underway. Rice is the main kharif crop.Currently, harvesting of kharif crops is underway. Rice is the main kharif crop.

Foodgrain production is pegged at record 144.52 million tonnes in the 2020-21 kharif season notwithstanding COVID-19 crisis, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday.

Foodgrain production stood at 143.38 million tonnes during the 2019-20 kharif season, as per official data.

Currently, harvesting of kharif crops is underway. Rice is the main kharif crop.

“Foodgrain production will be better than last year. As per the initial estimates, foodgrain production is projected to be 144.52 million tonnes in the 2020-21 kharif season,” Tomar said addressing a digital conference organised by industry body CII.

Production of cash crops such as sugarcane and cotton is also expected to be good, he said.

According to the first estimate accessed by PTI, the ministry estimated a record rice output at 102.36 million tonnes during the kharif season of 2020-21 crop year (July-June) as against 101.98 million in the previous year.

Similarly, pulses output is likely to increase to 9.31 million tonnes this kharif season from 7.72 million tonnes in 2019-20, while the production of oilseeds is projected to increase to 25.72 million tonnes from 22.31 million tonnes.

However, coarse cereals production is estimated to be slightly lower at 32.84 million tonnes in the 2020-21 kharif season as against 33.69 million tonnes.

Among cash crops, cotton output is estimated to be at record 37.11 million bales as against 35.49 million bales of 170 kg, while sugarcane output is projected to increase to 399.8 million tonnes from 355.7 million tonnes in the said period.

Earlier addressing the virtual conference, Tomar said the bumper production is estimated following a record increase in kharif acreage notwithstanding the pandemic.

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a record increase in area sown to kharif crops by 4.51 per cent to 1,121.75 lakh hectares this year, he said.

Tomar said agriculture is the pillar of the Indian economy. The sector grew 3.4 per cent during the first quarter of 2020-21 fiscal even as the total economy showed a decline in the said period.

“This shows how strong our agriculture and rural economy is.? Earlier too, the agriculture sector has shown its strength in facing similar challenges. I am fully confident that this sector will give a fillip to the economy in future.”

Despite the pandemic, rabi crops were harvested on time and kharif sowing was done in a record area, the minister said. Farm exports too rose 43.4 per cent in the first six months of this fiscal despite the COVID-19 crisis, he added.

On new farm laws, the minister asserted that farmers are being “misled” about the reforms and reiterated that procurement at minimum support price as well as mandis will continue to function across the country.

“Two laws will bring revolutionary changes in the agriculture sector but some people are spreading lies and misleading farmers due to their personal interest. However, farmers are well aware of their tricks,” he said.

“Neither MSP nor mandis will be affected because of the new laws. These two will continue,” Tomar said adding the new laws give freedom to farmers to sell outside mandis at better price and earn better profits.

The minister said the government is taking many measures to strengthen the farm sector and Rs 1 lakh crore has been earmarked for strengthening agriculture infrastructure.

About 37 food parks have also been sanctioned and of which 20 are operational, he added.

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