28 April, 2018
Backed by forecast of normal monsoon rainfall, the Centre set a tentative foodgrain production target of 283.7 million tonnes (MT) for the 2018-19 crop year (July-June) — nearly 6 million tonnes more than what it had estimated for the current crop year (2017-18) which would be an all-time record.
The new target was released by the agriculture ministry on the inaugural day of its Kharif campaign conference which is being organised to sensitise states on how to prepare itself to reap maximum benefits of normal monsoon rainfall during June-September period and also on how to conserve rain-water during rainy season for its use during winter.
Admitting that the farmers do not get fair value of their produce, the Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on the occasion noted that the higher production would be a matter of great satisfaction but the government now looked at paradigm shift in its policy where its programmes would be “income-oriented rather than production-oriented”.
Seeking state support on implementing various central schemes which are meant for increasing farmers’ income, the minister said, “Need of the hour is full cooperation of state governments so that all efforts of the central government reach to the farmers and benefit them”.
The tentative target of foodgrain production at 283.7 MT for 2018-19 includes 113 MT of rice, 100 MT of wheat and 24 MT of pulses and 46.7 MT of coarse cereals among others. Besides, the ministry also set a production target for oilseeds at 36 MT and of sugarcane at 355 MT – both higher than the estimated production of 2017-18.
Higher production of pulses and oilseeds assumes significance as India has to spend substantial amount every year on import of these two commodities to meet the country’s demand. It’ll also help the government in checking the price rise of these commodities for consumers ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections.
Releasing its second advance estimates for 2017-18 crop year, the ministry had in February said that the country overall foodgrain production may touch a new record of 277.49 MT in the year with pulses and rice outputs reporting new high.
The country is, however, expected to report decline in production of wheat and oilseeds in current crop year as compared to 2016-17. The fall in wheat production can be attributed to farmers’ decision to shift to pulses with the hope of better MSP. Farmers in Rajasthan, Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh had shifted to pulses during the Rabi season.
The ministry releases four advance estimates for every crop year, before the final one which gives exact details of the country’s foodgrain output.