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Kharif foodgrain output may be lower than last year

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Govt to come up with first advance estimate next week

Kharif foodgrain output may be lower than last year’s 130 million tonnes (mt), as scanty rain in the early part of the monsoon hit plantings. Last kharif, the country had harvested 129.94 mt foodgrains, including 91.53 mt of rice.

Poor rain posed a serious challenge in achieving production targets for the current kharif season, said Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna on Wednesday at a workshop on improvement in agricultural statistics.

For 2012-13, the Government had set a conservative production target of 250 mt, half of which was expected to be met from kharif. Last year, the total foodgrain production, including rabi, stood at 257.44 mt. Rice and wheat production touched a record 104 mt and 93.9 mt, respectively.

Last week, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had said that foodgrain production was expected to be lower than last year and output of pulses and coarse cereals was also likely to be affected.

Rise in acreage

Kharif sowing has almost ended and harvest is set to begin in early October. The Government expects to announce the advance kharif estimates next week.

Though the late revival in monsoon has helped increase acreage of key kharif crops such as rice, it would augur well for rabi plantings of mustard and wheat due to higher moisture levels in soil.

The monsoon deficit, which stood at 29 per cent at the end of June, reduced in August due to widespread rains and currently stands at six per cent.

Poor rain during the key sowing period of June and July affected kharif sowings. Latest data from the Agriculture Ministry estimate the shortfall at 5.4 per cent over last year.

vishwanath.kulkarni@

thehindu.co.in

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 20, 2012)
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