A worker moves wheat at the New Grain Market in Karnal, Haryana, (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Foodgrain Output May Surpass Last Year’s Level, Agriculture Secretary Says

India’s foodgrain output could exceed last year’s record of 279.51 million tonne buoyed by a favourable monsoon, higher support prices and a likely increase in crop productivity, according to Agriculture Secretary Shobhana Pattanayak.

He exuded confidence that sowing will pick up in the coming weeks in all growing states, despite lagging behind so far.

The shortfall in acreage will be made up in the coming weeks. We will definitely exceed last year’s production.
Shobhana Pattanayak, Agriculture Secretary

Sowing of kharif crops begins from June with the onset of southwest monsoon and harvesting takes place from October onwards. Till last week, area sown to all kharif crops was lagging the previous year’s figure behind by 14.2 percent at 333.76 lakh hectare, as per the ministry’s data. Rice acreage was also down 15 percent at 67.25 lakh hectare. Pulses, coarse cereals, cotton and oilseeds have also noted a fall in acreage till now.

This year’s situation is “much better”, and is not like what was witnessed in 2014-15 and 2015-16, Pattnayak told PTI. The sowing area of kharif crops like paddy is currently lower than the last year because of deficit rains in some parts of the country. Moreover, farmers will now be enthused to bring more acreage on the back of sharp increase in the minimum support price (MSP) for all 14 kharif crops announced last week, he added.

According to Indian Meteorological Department, the overall rainfall till July 11 is likely to be normal to above normal over south Peninsular India and below normal over remaining parts of the country. From July 12 onwards for a week, the rainfall is very likely to increase over most parts of the country outside northeast and the adjoining east India, where it is likely to be below normal.

Also read: Kharif MSP Hike To Benefit Farmers Only If Procurement Is Done Right