Higher output of rice, wheat and pulses to soften retail prices
Supported by normal monsoon last year and more than normal kharif and rabi sowing, the country’s foodgrain production in 2016-17 crop year is estimated to increase by 8% from the previous year to record 272 million tonne (mt).
According to the second advance estimates of production of major crops — rice, pulses, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane for the crop year 2016-17 (July-June) released on Wednesday by agriculture ministry, there would be record output of rice, wheat and pulses this year.
Experts say that the higher output of rice , wheat and pulses will help soften retail prices. The pulses prices, which witnessed a spike last year, had softened since crops have started to arrive in the market.
“As a result of very good rainfall during monsoon 2016 and various policy initiatives taken by the government, the country has witnessed record foodgrain production in the current year,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to the data, the rice production is estimated at an all-time high 108.86 mt in 2016-17 as against 104.41 mt in previous year. The wheat output is expected to be cross 96 mt which is about 3 mt more than the 2015-16 crop year. The area under wheat crop in the ongoing rabi season has crossed 31.55 million hectare which is close to 5% more than normal sowing areas for the last five years.
The food ministry on Wednesday has set a wheat procurement target at 33 mt for 2017-18 rabi marketing season, which begins on April 1. This year’s target is 43% more than last year’s cumulative procurement of wheat from the farmers.
The output of pulses, whose price skyrocketed a year back, is estimated at a record 22.14 mt this year, which is a huge 35% more than the output achieved in the previous year. Out of all the pulses, the output of both tur and urad are pegged at a record 4.23 mt and 2.89 mt, respectively, in the current 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 widespread monsoon rainfall which is supported by prolonged winter months have helped prospects of the crops.
As per the second estimate, oilseeds — soybean, mustard, groundnut, sunflower etc production in the 2016-17 is pegged at record 33.59 mt, as against 25.25 mt in 2015-16 crop year.
Among oilseeds, however, soybean output is estimated at 14.12 mt this year season as against 16.68 mt in the year-ago period. The groundnut production is estimated to increase to 8.47 mt from 6.73 mt in the said period. Higher production of oilseeds and pulses would bring down the country’s import dependence of these crops, an official told FE.
Among cash crops, cotton output is estimated at 32.51 million bales (of 170 kg each) in the current year, as against 30 million bales last year. Sugarcane output is likely to be lower at 309.98 mt in 2016-17 against 348.44 mt last year. The agriculture ministry releases total four estimates on foodgrains production annually. The third advance estimate is expected to be released around May and last estimate is published around September.