New Delhi: India's foodgrain production is estimated to rise by 9 per cent to an all-time high of 135.03 million tonnes in the kharif season (summer sown) of 2016-17 on record output of rice and pulses following a good monsoon.
Foodgrain production stood at 124.01 million tonnes (MT) in the kharif season of 2015-16 crop year (July-June). Higher output of pulses will help soften retail prices, which have remained a major concern.
The country's overall foodgrain production had fallen to around 252 MT level in each of the previous two full crop years (including kharif and rabi) due to two consecutive years of drought.
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today released the first advance estimate of foodgrain output for the current 2016-17 crop year. Harvesting of kharif crops has started. According to the data, rice production is estimated at an all-time high 93.88 MT in the kharif season as against 91.31 MT in the last kharif.
Production of pulses, whose retail prices have risen sharply due to a fall in production in the last two years, is pegged at a record 8.7 MT in kharif this year, up 57 per cent from 5.54 MT in the previous kharif.
Higher market price and a sharp increase in the minimum support price encouraged farmers to boost pulse cultivation. "As a result of favourable monsoon rainfall, area and yield of most of the kharif crops is expected to be higher.
Consequently, estimated production of most of the crops during the current kharif season is estimated to be higher as compared to their production as per 4th advance estimates for 2015-16," an official statement said.
Coarse cereal production is estimated to grow to 32.45 MT in the kharif season, from 27.17 MT in the last kharif. Among pulses, production of both tur and urad is pegged at a record 4.29 MT and 2.01 MT, respectively, in this year's kharif season.
As per the first estimate, oilseeds production in the kharif 2016-17 is pegged at record 23.36 million tonnes, as against 16.59 million tonnes in last kharif season.
Among oilseeds, soyabean output is estimated at 14.22 million tonnes this kharif season as against 8.59 million tonnes in the year-ago period.
Similarly, groundnut production is estimated to increase to 6.49 million tonnes from 5.34 million tonnes in the said period.
In case of cash crops, the government has estimated cotton output to rise to 32.12 million bales despite fall in acreage in 2016-17 crop year, as against 30.14 million bales (of 170 kg each) in the last year.
Sugarcane output is estimated to be lower at 305.24 million tonnes in 2016-17 from 352.16 million tonnes in the last year.
Jute/mesta production is also expected to be lower at 10.4 million bales (180 kg each) from 10.46 million bales in the said period.
After two straight years of drought, the country received normal southwest monsoon rains this year, which has boosted sowing of kharif crops.
At the beginning of the monsoon season in June, the Met department had predicted above normal rains but it recently revised downward due to delay in La Nina Phenomenon.
Good rains has improved soil moisture and increased water level in reservoirs, which will encourage sowing of rabi (winter crops) from next month.