The country’s kharif foodgrain production is estimated to decline by close to 3% to 134.67 million tonne (MT) mainly because of patchy monsoon rains in parts of central India along with floods in parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam. This year’s kharif production would still be higher than the average production of the five years between 2011-12 to 2015-16, that is, 128.24 MT, the agriculture ministry said in a statement. According to the first advance estimate for major kharif crops released on Monday, the output of rice, pulses and coarse cereals is projected to decline from a record level of 138.52 MT in the previous year’s kharif season.
The ministry would release the second advance estimate after rabi crop is sown in February next year and subsequent two advance estimates in May and August. The union agriculture secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak had recently stated that the country’s foodgrains production is likely to match last year’s figure of a record 276 MT. The kharif and rabi have roughly equal share in the country’s grain production. “We don’t anticipate major drop in production of foodgrains and other crops in kharif 2017. However, we are much hopeful about rabi crop prospects following monsoon rains especially since early this month,” Pattanayak had said.
As per the first advance estimates, in case of crops like cotton, oilseeds and jute, the output is expected to fall while in case of sugarcane the production would rise. The harvesting of kharif crops are expected to begin early next month. The kharif rice output is likely to fall by 1.9 MT to 94.48 MT this year, from a record 96.39 MT in the previous kharif. However, it’s unlikely to have any impact on prices as on September 1, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies had rice stocks of more than 18 million tonne (MT) against the buffer stocks norm of 10 MT on October 1. The new rice procurement season for 2017-18 would begin on October 1 where the state agencies have set a record procurement target of 37.5 MT.
The pulse output could drop to 8.71 MT, from the record 9.42 MT, mainly due to lower prices and patchy monsoon rains. However, agencies such as NAFED, SFAC and FCI have pulses buffer stocks of around 1.8 MT which would curb any possible price rise in future. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), southwest monsoon so far has been 5% less than normal benchmark long period average. Of the country’s 36 meteorological sub-divisions, only six fall under rain-deficit zone right now; in terms of area, just 17% is rain-deficient. Meanwhile, IMD stated that the southwest monsoon has been ‘vigorous’ over south interior Karnataka and active over West Bengal, Rayalaseema, north interior Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. IMD stated that rains are likely to occur over south interior Karnataka, coastal Andhra Pradesh, coastal Karnataka, north interior Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next few days.