Govt targets record 273 mt food grains output in 2017-18

The government on Tuesday set foodgrain output target at record 273 million tonne for the 2017-18 crop year and expects to achieve 4 per cent farm sector growth following the prediction of normal monsoon.

Foodgrain production is estimated to touch a record 271.98 million tonne (MT) in the current year (July-June) on account of good rains after two years of drought, according to the second estimate of the agriculture ministry.

"Foodgrain production target for next year is set at record 273 million tonnes," Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said while addressing a two-day national conference that is discussing sowing strategy for the coming kharif season. Southwest monsoon is forecast to be normal which will help achieve the desired target, he said without disclosing the season-specific production targets.

About 50 per cent of the foodgrain output comes from both kharif (summer) and rabi (winter) seasons. Kharif crops are normally sown in around 72 million hectares. Rice, pulses (tur, urad and moong), oilseeds (groundnut and soybean), cotton and sugarcane are main crops grown in this season.

Junior Agriculture Ministers Parshottam Rupala and Sudarshan Bhagat emphasised on providing timely support to farmers during pre and post harvesting periods. Expressing confidence of meeting the target, Agriculture Secretary Shobhana Pattanayak said: "We expect another year of good monsoon. We expect the 4 per cent agri-growth rate will be maintained in 2017-18."

Since kharif crops are heavily dependent on the performance of the southwest monsoon, the states should plan for all possible scenarios like delayed onset of rains, prolonged dry spells and less/excess rains, he said.

The Secretary further asked the states to encourage more farmers to buy the crop insurance policy Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana and aim to insure 40 per cent of the sown area (194 million hectares) in 2017-18 crop year.
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