The Agriculture Ministry has expressed its inability to correct data error related to garlic production even as Madhya Pradesh has revised its 2017-18 estimates. This implies that the country’s garlic output will remain a success story ‘on record’ — a nearly 81 per cent increase to 29.1 lakh tonnes (lt) in 2018-19 from the previous year and more than four times in the case of Madhya Pradesh.

“The huge difference in figures of production of garlic in Madhya Pradesh between 2017-18 and 2018-19 is due to the change of source agency and the change in methodology followed for estimating area/production of garlic in the State. Though the State has retrospectively revised the figures for 2017-18 to 1.86 lakh hectare and 18.82 lt, the same could not be incorporated as the estimates for 2017-18 had already been finalised,” Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in the Lok Sabha in a written reply on March 15.

However, the minister mentioned this in the footnote of a table listing the statewise data of the last four years.

Business Line last month reported how the Centre did not correct the data error even after the Madhya Pradesh government had alerted it. The Centre still assumes the State’s garlic area as 92,500 hectares and production as 4.05 lt for 2017-18 and 1.78 lakh hectares and 18.21 lt for 2018-19.

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According to the State data, seven major districts — Dewas, Dhar, Indore, Mandsaur, Neemuch, Ratlam and Ujjain, each with more than 10,000 hectares under garlic — together produced 14.5 lakh tonnes in 2020, which is 73 per cent of the total output of Madhya Pradesh. While the output has increased from the 2017 level in each of them, only Neemuch (top producing district) faced a decline of 36 per cent due to a fall in area.

Responding to a question by MP Ramcharan Bohra, the Minister said the government is implementing the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) for crops including garlic. Under MIDH, assistance is provided for area expansion of rhizomatic spices, including garlic (maximum of ₹12,000 per ha), for a maximum of 4 hectares per beneficiary in a single instalment.

Nearly 15 States and Union Territories have spent ₹15.84 crore of Central funds for rhizomatic spices such as ginger, garlic and turmeric between 2018-19 and 2020-21.