Govt pegs 2.77 per cent fall in kharif crop output due to poor rains, floods

New Delhi: India’s foodgrain production is estimated to decline by 3.86 million tonnes to 134.67 mt this kharif season on account of poor rains as well as floods in some parts of the country.

According to the first advance estimate released on Monday by the agriculture ministry, production of all kharif foodgrains rice, pulses and coarse cereals is projected to decline from the record 138.52 mt last kharif.

In cash crops, production of cotton, oil seeds and jute is estimated to fall and that of sugarcane to go up. Harvesting will start from next month.

As per the latest data, rice output is likely to fall by 1.9 million tonnes (mt) to 94.48 mt in kharif season this year, from the record 96.39 mt in the previous kharif. Pulse output could drop to 8.71 mt, from the record 9.42 mt, due to depressed prices and poor rains. The production of tur is estimated to be lower at 3.99 mt from 4.78 mt while urad output may rise to 2.53 mt from 2.17 mt in the last kharif season.

Coarse cereal output is also seen lower at 31.49 mt, against 32.71 mt in the gone-by kharif season. Maize output is pegged at 18.73 mt this kharif as against 19.24 mt a year ago.

Oilseed output is estimated to be down at 20.68 mt in the kharif season of this year compared to 22.40 mt in the year- ago period. Soyabean output has been pegged at 12.22 mt as against 13.79 mt last kharif.

Among cash crops, cotton output is estimated to be slightly lower at 32.27 million bales (of 170 kg each) in the 2017-18 crop year (July-June) from the earlier 33.09 million bales.

However, sugarcane output might rise to 337.69 mt, from 306.72 mt before. Production of jute and mesta is estimated to decline to 10.33 million bales (of 180 kg each), from 10.60 million bales last year.

The fall in kharif output is attributed to dry spell as well as floods in some parts of the country.

The overall South-West Monsoon, crucial for rain-fed kharif crops, was projected normal, but till the first week of this month, it was less by 5 per cent.

Assam, Bihar, Gujarat and Rajasthan witnessed floods while parts of Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu faced a dry spell.

The kharif output estimates might be revised later taking feedback from states. The ministry releases four estimates before the final one at different stages of harvesting.