Monsoon Magic: 2017-18 food grain output may be at last year’s level

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New Delhi | Published: September 20, 2017 3:39 AM

Referring to adequate rainfall during last two weeks, especially in southern peninsula (47% excess rainfall this month against benchmark normal), he said the prospects of forthcoming rabi crops have ‘brightened’.

Despite floods and deficient rainfall witnessed in parts of the country, India’s foodgrain production in the 2017-18 crop year (July-June) is likely to match last year’s record level of 275.68 million tonne (mt), agriculture secretary SK Pattanayak said on Tuesday. (Express photo)

Despite floods and deficient rainfall witnessed in parts of the country, India’s foodgrain production in the 2017-18 crop year (July-June) is likely to match last year’s record level of 275.68 million tonne (mt), agriculture secretary SK Pattanayak said on Tuesday. “We do not 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 said on the sidelines of a national conference to chalk out a strategy for winter-sown crops like wheat, pulses and oilseeds. Referring to adequate rainfall during last two weeks, especially in southern peninsula (47% excess rainfall this month against benchmark normal), he said the prospects of forthcoming rabi crops have ‘brightened’. The government has fixed a target of 276.55 mt for ongoing 2017-18 crop year. The agriculture ministry is likely to release the first advance estimate for kharif agricultural crops for 2017-18 later this week.

According to an official with agriculture ministry, the southwest monsoon, which is key to kharif crops, has been ‘more or less normal except a few pockets’. The situation in parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Peninsular India, which witnessed less rainfall, has improved in the past two weeks. “We are hopeful; so called deficit is corrected in the coming days,” the official said. According to the agriculture ministry data, kharif crops such as paddy, pulses, oilseeds and sugarcane have been sown in 104.91 million hectare (mh) so far, and there is a shortfall of around 80,000 mh in comparison to a year-ago period. “I am certain this will be covered in the coming days,” an official said. States including Assam, Bihar, Gujarat and Rajasthan witnessed floods, while parts of Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu faced dry spell, especially during June and July. Meanwhile, the agriculture ministry note has stated that in the ongoing kharif 2017, ‘no intimation has so far been received from any state regarding occurrence or declaration of drought’.

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