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Onions, potatoes saw robust production in drought-hit year: Govt

 MPost |  2016-09-06 01:12:11.0  |  New Delhi

Even though country witnessed a widespread drought last year, farmers produced a bumper harvest of horticulture crops. According to the third advance estimates released by the agriculture ministry on Monday. The horticultural production crossed 283 million tonnes in 2015-16 in comparison to 282.8 
million tonne in 2014-15.

Further, the latest estimates show that major horticulture crops such as onion, potato and tomatoes saw robust production growth in 2015-16, despite a severe monsoon deficit that affected production of foodgrains, especially pulses.

Country’s onion output is estimated to have touched the 21 million tonne mark -- a new record -- in the crop year ended June 2016, while tomato production also rose 12 per cent to 18.4 mt in 2015-16 crop year as against 16.3 mt in the previous year. However, potato output declined 9 per cent to 43.7 mt compared with 48 mt last year.

“Production of onion is estimated to be around 21 million tonnes, which is 11 per cent higher than the previous year,” the agriculture ministry said while releasing the third advance estimate of horticultural crops for 2015-16. Onion output had dropped to 18.92 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) due to poor rains. The previous record was 19.4 mt in 2013-14. 

“We have achieved a new record in onion production in 2015-16 as acreage rose buoyed by good weather and better prices during the sowing period," National Horticulture Board Managing Director A K Singh said, adding that potato production has dropped because of a fall in output in Bengal.

Higher onion output meant wholesale prices crashed to as low as Rs 7 per kg in producing states this year, from Rs 45 in the same period last year, as per government data. 

The government has announced export incentives to boost outbound shipments and enabled prices to firm up in the interest of farmers.

Total vegetable production is estimated at around 167 mt, which is almost the same as the previous year, while fruit output is expected to be higher by 2 per cent at 91 mt in 2015-16. Production of spices is estimated to be around 6 mt, 4 per cent higher than the previous year.

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