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Deficit rains likely to hit kharif foodgrain output by 7%

Deficit rains likely to hit kharif foodgrain output by 7%

PTI Sep 19, 2014

NEW DELHI: India's foodgrain production is projected to drop by 7 per cent to 120.27 million tonnes in the kharif season of this year due to poor monsoon rains.

Foodgrain output was 129.24 MT in the kharif (summer) season of the 2013-14 crop year (July-June).

On account of 12 per cent deficit in rains so far, total area covered under kharif crops is lower by 3 per cent from last year.

Foodgrain output is estimated to fall by about 9 MT due to likely drop in rice production by 3.7 MT, coarse cereals by 4.5 MT and pulses by nearly a million tonne.

Releasing the first production estimate for kharif crop, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said: "...coverage in sowing position is as per average of last five years and is only 3 per cent lower than the situation of last year. With improved rainfall, it is estimated that kharif foodgrain production will be approximately 120 million tonnes."

On farm growth projection for this fiscal, he said the government would try to achieve last year's level despite adverse weather situation that has resulted in drought and floods in some parts of the country.

Singh said this is the initial and conservative kharif forecast, and production could rise in later estimates as observed in the past years.

As per the latest estimate, rice production is estimated to decline to 88.02 MT in the kharif season of 2014-15 crop year from 91.69 MT in the year-ago.

Similarly, production of coarse cereals is projected to drop to 27.05 MT from 31.53 MT, while pulses output would be lower at 5.2 MT from 6.02 MT.

On reasons for likely fall in kharif output, Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna said: "There was delayed monsoon rains which led to late sowing. This will of course have impact on crop productivity."

Due to lower area coverage and productivity, production of most of the crops is expected to be lower than their record production levels achieved last year, an official statement said.