The government on Wednesday set a food grain production target of 328 million tonne (mt) for the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) which is 4% more than a record foodgrain output of 315.7 mt in the previous year.
Out of the total grain production, rabi crops such as wheat, mustard and chana (gram) would contribute 164.8 mt in 2022-23 crop year. Rabi crops are sown in the winter months of December-January and harvested from April onwards.
The government has a set target for higher food grains production for 2022-23 despite a marginal 1.2% decline in the area under all kharif crops – paddy, pulses, oilseeds, cotton and nutri-cereals etc -to 106.9 million hectares (mh) till last week. Ppaddy sowing area across the country was reported at 38.3 mh which was 5.6% less than year ago.
“The strategies would be to enhance area through inter-cropping, crop diversification, and productivity enhancement by introducing high yield varieties, adoption of suitable agronomic practices in low yielding regions, utilizing residual moisture, early sowing and lifesaving irrigation for rabi crops,” an agriculture ministry statement stated after the inauguration of the national conference on agriculture for rabi campaign-2022.
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It noted that the priority of the government is on agro-ecological based crop planning for diversion of land from excess commodities like rice and wheat to deficit commodities like oilseeds and pulses and high value export earning crops.
Last month, the government had estimated overall foodgrain output in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) had hit a record 315.7 mt, buoyed by a record rice harvest of 130.2 mt. Wheat production has dropped almost 3% to 106.84 mt.
The drop in wheat output is attributed to heat-wave between March and June that hit the crop in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana. This eventually forced the government to impose a ban on wheat exports in May to keep local supplies steady. Trade sources believe the actual wheat output could have been below 100 mt.
According to trade estimate rice production in the next crop year (2022-23) could decline by around 6 – 10 mt because of fall in paddy acreage in the current kharif sowing so far because of deficiency in monsoon rainfall in key growing states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Record production is estimated for crops such as rice, maize, gram (chana), pulses, rapeseed and mustard, oilseeds and sugarcane for 2021-22 crop year, agriculture and farmers welfare minister Narendra Singh Tomar said.
In a major boost to reducing import dependence, pulse output rose by close to 27.69 mt in the 2021-22 crop year compared to 25.46 mt estimated in the previous crop year.
The output of coarse cereals such as barley, bajra, maize and ragi is estimated to decline to 50.90 mt from 51.32 mt reported in previous crop year.
According to the agriculture ministry, in the non-food grain category, oilseeds output rose more than 4% to 37.7 mt in the 2021-22 crop year compared to previous year. Rapeseed/mustard seed production is estimated at a record 11.74 mt, which was 15% more than the 2020-21 crop year.
Soybean output rose by 3% to 12.99 mt compared to previous year. India imports about 56% of its edible oil requirement.
Sugarcane production in 2021-22 crop is estimated at record 431.8 mt compared to 405.39 mt in the previous year while cotton output is expected to drop to 31.2 million bales (170 kg each) from 35.24 million bales.