Food grains output in 2020-21 pegged at 303 MT

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February 25, 2021 2:00 AM

Even as the higher output will help boost the agriculture gross value added (GVA), the sluggish demand for key cereals like rice and wheat may depress mandi prices, putting pressure on the government to procure more of the crops at the minimum support prices (MSPs).

The production of coarse cereals is estimated to rise by 3.4% to 49.36 MT in 2020-21 from the previous year.The production of coarse cereals is estimated to rise by 3.4% to 49.36 MT in 2020-21 from the previous year.

The country’s food grains production is estimated to be a record 303 million tonne (MT) during 2020-21 crop year (July-June) , exceeding the target, thanks to all-time high output in rice, wheat and maize aided by above-normal and well-distributed monsoon rains.

Even as the higher output will help boost the agriculture gross value added (GVA), the sluggish demand for key cereals like rice and wheat may depress mandi prices, putting pressure on the government to procure more of the crops at the minimum support prices (MSPs).

According to the second advance estimates, released by the agriculture ministry Wednesday, the total foodgrains output is estimated to have increased by nearly 2% from the previous year and also exceeded the official target of 301 MT. While rice production is seen at 120.32 MT, up by 1.2% and wheat output is estimated at 109.24 MT, up by 1.3% (see chart). There may be a record production of mustard seen at 10.43 MT, up by 14.4% from previous year.

“While it is the first estimate for wheat and other rabi crops, the production will further go up when these data are collated with market arrivals in subsequent estimates. Already there is marginal increase in production estimates of almost all kharif crops this time from the previous estimate released in September last year,” an agriculture ministry official said. The government releases crops output estimates five times at different intervals based on the sowing data and arrival of the crops in the market.

The farm and allied sector is expected to grow at 3.4% in real term in FY21, remaining the brightest spot in an otherwise gloomy year, as overall gross value added in the economy is projected to shrink by 7.2%. The country’s real GDP is estimated to contract by as much as 7.7% in FY21, thanks to the Covid-19 outbreak. The share of agriculture and allied sectors in GVA of the country plays a key role and at current prices was 17.8% during 2019-20, according to May 2020 estimates of national income released by Central Statistical Office.

A prolonged and well distributed rainfall across the country, barring a few areas of irrigated north-west region, was the major factor that helped farmers to expand the sowing areas during both kharif and rabi seasons, experts said. “During the lockdown after Covid-19 pandemic, the government took several measures starting from seed and fertiliser supply to movement of trucks and agriculture machinery ensuring that farm operation did not suffer,” said the official quoted earlier. Monsoon rainfall was 109% of the long period average of 88 cm in 2020.

The production of coarse cereals is estimated to rise by 3.4% to 49.36 MT in 2020-21 from the previous year. Pulses output, too, is seen higher at 24.42 MT, up by 6% and oilseeds production is estimated at 37.31 MT, higher by 12.3%. While sugarcane output is estimated at 397.66 MT (7.3% up), production of cotton has been pegged at 36.54 million bales (of 170 kg each), up by 1.3%.

Meanwhile, the paddy procurement during the on-going season (October-September) has reached at 65.86 MT as on February 22, an increase of 16.6% against the year-ago period, thanks to robust purchase in all states including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (nearly 60% share).

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