India’s wheat output for the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) has been raised to 106.84 million tonnes (mt) in the fourth advance estimates, 0.43 mt higher than what was estimated in May. Besides wheat, the government on Wednesday raised its production estimate of rice and coarse cereals, pegging foodgrains output at a record 315.72 mt—up by 1.21 mt—from the previous estimate.

In the 2020-21, production of foodgrains—wheat, rice, pulses and coarse cereals—was at a record high 310.74 mt.

Releasing the estimates of last season’s crops, the Ministry for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare said a record production has been estimated in rice, maize, gram, pulses, mustard, oilseeds and sugarcane. “This record production of so many crops is the result of the farmer-friendly policies of the Centre, as well as the tireless hard work of the farmers and the diligence of the scientists,” Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said.

Record high prices

The government releases four estimates at quarterly intervals before finalising the production of the crop year. Normally, there is an upward revision in every round from the previous one after the first estimate is released.

Though wheat production has been projected to decline by 2.5 per cent from 109.59 mt, it was expected to be further cut from the May estimates, as the government failed to procure even half of the targeted 44 mt of wheat for buffer stocks. A section of traders pegged the wheat output at below 100 mt after yield dropped in all the growing States due to a heatwave sweeping across the country during March-April.

The raise comes on the heels of the US Department of Agriculture raising its estimate of Indian wheat to 104 mt from an earlier projection of lower than 100 mt. The drop in production and poor procurement resulted in the Centre banning wheat exports from May 13. However, the ban has not resulted in keeping wheat on the leash.

Coarse cereals down

On the other hand, rice production is projected at a record 130.29 mt for 2021-22 against 124.37 mt the previous year. The latest estimate is also higher than 129.66 mt projected in the third advance estimate. The Ministry has revised upwards coarse cereals’ output to 50.90 mt from 50.70 mt in the third estimate, although it is down from the previous year’s 51.32 mt.

But, there has been a downward revision in pulses output to 27.69 mt from 27.75 mt in third estimate mainly due to marginal fall in tur, gram and lentil output. However, the pulses output last year was higher when compared with previous year’s 25.46 mt.

Production of oilseeds has been pegged at a record 37.69 mt in the 2021-22 crop year against 35.94 mt in the previous year. However, the latest estimate is lower after the government realistically aligned the output of soyabean based on its market arrival. There has been a cut of 0.8 mt in soyabean output at 12.99 mt in the latest estimate from 13.83 mt in the third estimate. Rapeseed and mustard production has been pegged at a record 17.74 mt for 2021-22.

Among cash crops, cotton output has been cut to 31.2 million bales (170 kg each) from 31.54 million bales during the third estimate, whereas last year it was 35.24 million bales. The government allowed the import of cotton this year after prices soared to a record high. Sugarcane production is estimated at a record 431.8 mt against 430.5 mt in the third round of estimates. It was 405.39 mt in the previous year.

Production of jute/mesta is estimated to be 10.31 million bales (180 kg each), up from 10.22 million bales in the third estimate and 9.35 million bales the previous year.

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