Millennium Post

Wheat production may rise 8.42% to 94 mt in 2015-16

Wheat output in India, the world's second biggest grower, is expected to rise by 8.42 per cent to 93.82 million tonnes in the 2015-16 crop year despite facing drought and warmer winter. In the 2014-15 crop year (July-June), wheat output had fallen to 86.53 million tonnes (mt) due to deficit rain and unseasonal weather conditions. Last year's wheat output has been revised further down by 2.41 mt in final estimates.

This year's wheat production is, however, likely to be lower than the record 95.85 mt achieved in 2013-14 crop year. The output projections for wheat and other crops for 2015-16 were made in the second advance estimate released by the Agriculture Ministry today.

"Initially, there were fears that wheat production could take a hit due to warmer winters and decline in sowing area. But fall in temperature towards January-end and adoption of better varieties has improved the crop prospects," a senior Agriculture Ministry official said.

If there are no unseasonal weather conditions such as hailstorm in February-March, wheat output could further go up, which will be factored in the crop estimates of the ministry later, the official added. The government usually comes out with four advance foodgrain production estimates before the final one.

The official said there are reports of yellow-rust disease outbreak in the wheat crop in parts of Haryana, which at present is not a serious issue. However, the agri-research body Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Directorate of Wheat Research are keeping a close watch on such developments and giving timely advisories to the state governments.

Meanwhile, the Food Ministry has kept a target to procure 30 mt of wheat directly from farmers at a minimum support price. Last year, it had procured 28.08 mt. As per the second estimate, total foodgrain production is pegged at 253.16 mt for the current crop year, higher by 1.14 mt, over the production of 252.02 mt during 2014-15.

Total foodgrain output is expected to exceed last year's level despite weak kharif crops owing to deficit monsoon and rabi crops due to shortage of water in reservoirs and relatively warmer winter, the ministry added. Besides wheat, pulses output is also estimated to increase marginally to 17.33 mt in 2015-16 as against 17.15 mt last year, though it is still not sufficient to meet the domestic demand of 22-23 MT.

Except for wheat and pulses, production of rice, coarse cereals, oilseeds, sugarcane, cotton and jute is pegged lower than last year. Rice output is likely to decline to 103.61 mt in the current crop year from 105.48 mt last year, while coarse cereals output is estimated to fall to 38.40 mt from 42.86 MT in the said period.

Similarly, production of oilseeds is likely to drop to 26.34 mt this crop year from 27.51 mt last year, mainly due to fall in soyabean output. Among cash crops, sugarcane output is estimated to decline to 34.63 mt from 36.23 mt, while that of cotton output is expected to drop to 30.69 million bales from 34.80 million bales in the said period.
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