Expecting a ‘normal’ monsoon this year, the government is aiming to achieve a record foodgrain production of 273 million tonne (MT) for the 2017-18 crop year (July-June). As per the second advance estimate released by the agriculture ministry for 2016-17, the foodgrain production is pegged at 272 MT. “Foodgrain production target for next year is set at record 273 MT,” agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said while addressing the national conference on sowing strategy for the coming kharif season.
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Meanwhile, showing optimism on kharif crops prospects , agriculture secretary Shobhana Pattanayak said, “We expect another year of good monsoon. We expect the 4% agricultural and allied sector growth rate will be maintained in 2017-18. Since kharif crops are heavily dependent on the performance of the southwest monsoon, the states should plan for all possible scenarios like delayed onset of rains, prolonged dry spells and less/excess rains.”
In a likely boost to farm sector, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) last week had predicted ‘normal’ rainfall this year at 96% of the benchmark Long Period Average (LPA), with a model error of ± 5%.
According to IMD director general K J Ramesh, there is a relatively moderate possibility of El Nino conditions, which adversely impacts progress of monsoon rains, developing during second half of the monsoon months (June-September) and neutral conditions of Indian Ocean Dipole would likely to result in ‘good distribution of rainfall across the country,”.