Agri Business

Foodgrain output under threat as rice, wheat acreage trail

| Updated on: Dec 21, 2012
bl22 agri rabi.eps

bl22 agri rabi.eps

BL22_AGRI_SOWING

BL22_AGRI_SOWING

Rabi foodgrain production is under threat with areas under rice, wheat and pulses continuing to trail despite sowing gathering momentum. One possible reason could be deficient rainfall during the North-East monsoon.

Data from the Agriculture Ministry show that wheat was planted on 253.17 lakh hectares (lha) against 257.15 lha last year.

Wheat acreage

Wheat has so far been covered in over 88 per cent of the normal area of 286.4 lha.

The acreage is higher than normal in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, while it is lower in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka and Haryana.

Wheat production last year was a record 93.9 million tonnes last year.

This season, the Agriculture Ministry has fixed a wheat output target of 86 million tonnes.

Besides, the Centre’s decision not fixing a higher minimum support price for wheat is also acting as a dampener for growers.

Last year, the MSP for wheat was fixed at Rs 1,285 a quintal and the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices had recommended keeping the MSP unchanged.

However, it has said the Centre could offer a bonus of Rs 40 a quintal.

The lower wheat acreage comes on the heels of the Government advising farmers to complete wheat sowing by November 30, as the late sowing could make the crop vulnerable to terminal heat damage during February-March.

While acreage under most crops is lower year-on-year, oilseeds and coarse cereals sowing has increased.

Rabi pulse crop

Coverage of pulses was down at 128.26 lha (129.39 lha).

The Government has been banking on the rabi pulses crop to tide over the shortfall in kharif output due to erratic South-West Monsoon.

Rice acreage was at 1.71 lha against last year’s 2.78 lha due to deficient rainfall in major producing States in the South - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Higher groundnut and sunflower acreage pushed up the coverage of oilseeds by five per cent to 79.59 lha (75.82 lha).

Higher MSP and better soil moisture level in growing areas boosted the sowing of oilseeds.

Groundnut area rose 54.4 per cent on year to 5,31,800 hectares (3,44,000 hectares) while that of sunflower increased 20.6 per cent to 4,76,800 hectares. Mustard, the main rabi oilseed, was up 2.8 per cent at 64.4 lha (62.6 lha).

Coverage of coarse grains so far stands at 54.81 lha (53.75 lha).

The total area sown under various crops, too, lags compared with the same period a year ago.

Rabi acreage stands at 517.53 lha compared with 518.88 lakh hectares during the same period last year, according to the latest data from the Agriculture Ministry.

>gayathri.gururajan@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 21, 2012

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