Millennium Post

Food grain production likely to dip

Country's foodgrains production is projected to decline by 10 per cent in the kharif season of this year at 117.18 million tonnes due to deficient monsoon and drought in some states.

However, the government expects to make up for the decline in output during the rabi season [winter sown crop].

Foodgrains output stood at 129.94 million tonnes in last year's kharif season. The production of rice - a major kharif crop - is expected to fall to 85.59 mn tonnes compared with 91.53 mn tonnes in the last kharif [summer crops].

'As per the first advance estimate, total foodgrains production is expected at 117.18 million tonnes in the
season of 2012-13 crop year, lower than the last year but higher than the average production of 113 million tonnes in the last five years,' agriculture minister Sharad Pawar told reporters.

'Whatever shortfall we have seen in kharif season will be covered in rabi,' the minister said.

Pulses production is estimated at 5.26 mn tonnes in kharif this year against 6.16 mn tonnes during the last year, he said, adding the production of coarse cereals is estimated to fall to 26.33 mn tonnes from 32.26 mn tonnes. Deficiency of monsoon stands at 5 per cent so far.

Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan have declared drought in over 390 taluks.

Asked if fall in foodgrains output will impact prices, Pawar said: 'Last year's stock position of wheat and rice is extremely good. There is no problem. I am worried prices of wheat, atta and sugar are going up in the market. I do not understand the reason because we have good crop'.

Pawar said he would speak to the consumer affairs minister on this issue. 'More quantity of sugar and wheat need to be released in the market to check prices'. Releasing the first advance estimates of kharif season for 2012-13 crop year [July-June], Pawar said oilseeds output is estimated at 18.78 million tonnes from 20.78 million tonnes in kharif last year.

‘Production of soyabean is encouraging and will offset decline in groundnut,’ he added. Cotton production is estimated to fall to 33.4 million bales [of 170 kg each] as against 35.2 million bales during last year, while sugarcane production is pegged at 335.3 mn tonnes against 357.6 mn tonnes last year.

‘This year, we have witnessed delay in onset of monsoon. The first estimates are better than expected. These are preliminary estimates and final estimates will be better than this,’ Pawar said.
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