Rabi grain output may see slight fall

By: | Published: December 31, 2014 12:55 AM

India’s grain harvest during the rabi season may drop marginally due to lower planting, agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh...

India’s grain harvest during the rabi season may drop marginally due to lower planting, agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Tuesday.

India, the world’s second-largest grain grower, had produced over 135 million tonnes of grains during the last rabi season. Apart from grains, including wheat and pulses, the production of oilseeds are also expected to decline in 2014-15.

Coupled with a projected 7% drop in the kharif grain production, a smaller rabi harvest reinforced fears that the farm sector growth will be much lower than a year before. The  farm and allied sectors grew 4.7% in the last fiscal – quite impressive by their standards – and expanded an average of 3.7% in the first half of the current fiscal.

“There was a 13% drop in monsoon rains (from the normal levels). It is natural, there would be some impact on rabi crops but it will not be significant,” Singh said. Area under various winter-sown crops dropped 2% until December 29 to 53 million hectares (mh). Area under wheat is down at 27.9 mh this year as against 28.6 mh last year, while pulses acreage is at 12.41 mh this year as against 13.47 mh in the review period.

Singh said despite the erratic weather, kharif crops were largely protected due to timely action by the centre, including the contingency plans and subsidies on diesel for irrigation in affected areas.

Rabi crops are usually sown from October and harvested from March.

Singh said a Price Stabilisation Fund, with a corpus of Rs 500 crore, has been operationalised last week.

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