Even though the overall agriculture sector is expected to do well in 2012-13, the major crop production is projected to fall by 0.5 per cent, the economic think-tank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said.

“Major crop production is projected to decline in 2012-13 by 0.5 per cent, owing to a fall in output of non-food crops like soyabean, cotton and rapeseed,” the CMIE said in its monthly report.

Cotton production is expected to fall 7.8 per cent to 32.2 million bales in 2012-13 even though the acreage rose over 12 per cent to 29.3 lakh hectares by June.

“We expect the cultivation to slow down and settle at a level lower than last year. Hence, a fall in acreage is expected to limit production in 2012-13,” it added.

The city-based research agency said that a projected growth in output of livestock, forestry and fisheries, along with a modest 4 per cent rise in production of minor crops, is expected to lift growth of the agriculture sector to 2.4 per cent in 2012-13.

The kharif cultivation of foodgrains and oilseeds has been sluggish due to delayed rains. To boost the cultivation of these crops, the Centre had announced a steep increase in their minimum support price (MSP) last month.

The MSP of paddy was raised by 15.7 per cent, while that of maize and bajra by over 20 per cent for 2012-13.

Weak precipitation has dampened the Central Government’s efforts and kharif sowing has been undertaken on a mere 127 lakh hectares by June 29, lower by 12 per cent year-on-year, it said.

The kharif cultivation of these crops is expected to pick up pace in the forthcoming period, as the India Meteorological Department has predicted normal rainfall in July-August.

Foodgrains are projected to scale up by 0.6 per cent to 247.6 million tonnes in 2012-13, as output of coarse grains and pulses is expected to recover, the CMIE explained.

Coarse cereals production is projected to grow by 0.7 per cent to 42.3 million tonnes, while that of pulses by 1 per cent to 17.7 million tonnes in 2012-13.

The support price for kharif oilseeds has been raised by over 20 per cent. However, their cultivation dipped by 15.7 per cent to 0.8 lakh hectares by June 29.

The cultivation of oilseeds is expected to gather momentum in the subsequent period and projected to grow by 3 per cent.

The production of groundnuts is projected to recover by an estimated 16.2 per cent to 8 million tonnes, the agency said.

The CMIE further pointed out that in 2011-12, the groundnut cultivators shifted to alternative crops to earn higher returns, thus production dipped by 17.1 per cent to 6.9 million tonnes.

(This article was published on July 22, 2012)
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