Rice output to be 7-9% less on rain deficit: Govt | The Financial Express

Rice output to be 7-9% less on rain deficit: Govt

Food secretary says rice stocks will still be comfortable

Rice output to be 7-9% less on rain deficit: Govt
The paddy acreage has declined by close to 0.9 mh in Jharkhand, 0.39 mh in West Bengal, 0.24 mh in Uttar Pradeh and 0.2 mh in Bihar.

India’s rice production in the current crop year (2022-23) will be in the 118-120 million tonne (mt) range, down from 130 mt in last year, according to initial estimate, food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said on Friday. The fall is due to a drop in area under paddy in rain deficient West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, he added.

Pandey said that the estimate could be revised in case of good rainfall in the remaining part of the monsoon season.

“With the exports of 21.2 mt of rice in last fiscal, India will still have surplus stocks,” he said.

According to the food ministry, in the four rain deficient states, the paddy sowing has been less by around 3.8 million hectare (mh) this kharif season, which translates into loss of production of 10 mt of rice.

This is the first official acknowledgement of the possibility of decline in rice production in the 2022-23.

Out of a record rice production of 130.2 mt in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June), the country produced more than 111 mt (over 86%) of rice in the kharif season.

This decline in rice output would be the first since 2015-16, when rice output had dropped to 104.4 mt from 105.4 mt in the previous year.

Because of the possibility of a drop in rice production, the government on Thursday imposed a ban on exports of broken rice and put an export tax of 20% on certain categories of non-Basmati rice.

Also Read: India’s kharif rice production may fall by 10-12 mn tonne: Food Secretary

Overall paddy sowing area across the country was reported at 39.3 mh on Friday which was 4.9% less than year ago. Average annual area under kharif paddy between 2016-17 – 2020-21 was 39.7 mh.

Area under paddy in West Bengal, the largest rice-producing state, was down by more than 9% on year on Friday while a month back the deficit in sowing was 31%.

The paddy acreage has declined by close to 0.9 mh in Jharkhand, 0.39 mh in West Bengal, 0.24 mh in Uttar Pradeh and 0.2 mh in Bihar.

Paddy sowing has been hit mainly because of severe deficiency in monsoon rainfall against the benchmark in key states — Uttar Pradesh (-46%), Bihar (-36%), West Bengal (-18%) and Jharkhand (-27%).

According to India Meteorological Department, cumulative monsoon rains during June 1- September 9 was 795 mm which was 5% (above normal level) more than the normal benchmark – long period average (LPA) of 760 mm.

While several regions in southern, central and north-western India have witnessed water logging and flood-like situations, deficient rainfall in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand had impacted sowing, especially of paddy, officials said. Many farmers in the eastern regions have sown short duration varieties of paddy because of delay in monsoon rains.

An agriculture ministry official said that actual production would be assessed in the next couple of weeks. Agriculture ministry will release the first advance estimate of kharif crops for the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) this month.

The government earlier this week had set a marginally higher target of 51.8 mt of kharif rice procurement for 2022-23 season (October-September) by the Food Corporation of India and state government agencies against the actual procurement in previous year despite the possibility of drop in output because of lower paddy sowing.

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