The Indian Government is likely to set the foodgrains production target at over 340 million tonnes (mt), including 136 mt of rice and 115 mt of wheat during the 2024-25 crop year (July-June). The targeted production of maize may be set at nearly 39 mt.

Sources said the Agriculture Ministry would soon announce the target of production of different agricultural crops once the minister, who is currently busy in election campaign, approves it.

The actual production of rice in 2023-24 was 123.82 mt, which excludes the zaid crop’s output since it is yet to be announced. The government from 2022-23 started sharing the production of zaid crops separately, and as much as 10.24 mt of rice was produced that year in the summer season.

Production of wheat, which is a rabi crop, is estimated at a record 112.02 mt for this crop year while maize output is seen at 32.47 mt (excluding the summer crop). In 2022-23, the output of summer season-grown maize was 2.72 mt.

After a drop in production in rice, pulses and other crops in the current crop year to June, the country needs good production this year as its foodgrain stocks have dropped with wheat inventories at their lowest since 2008.

Monsoon on time

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has announced that the monsoon will hit the Kerala coast on May 31, which is a day earlier than its normal scheduled day of June 1 in the mainland. IMD also said the south-west monsoon is very likely to advance into South Andaman Sea, some parts of southeast Bay of Bengal and Nicobar Islands around May 19.

IMD has also predicted this year’s rainfall to be above-normal, quantitatively 106 per cent of its long period average of 87 cm with a model error of (+/-) 5 per cent during the June-September monsoon season. According to IMD, rainfall between 105 and 110 per cent of LPA is considered “above normal” and between 96-104 is categorised as “normal”. Monsoon was above normal in 2019, 2020 and 2022.

Overall rainfall as well as its geographical and periodical distribution during the monsoon season, which has 75 per cent share in the country’s annual rainfall of 116 cm, are key to achieve the production target of different crops since 45 per cent of the agricultural land is rainfed.

Last year, despite pan-India monsoon being close to normal at 94 per cent of its long period average (LPA), several States like Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra faced drought-like conditions. Monsoon rainfall between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of LPA is considered normal by IMD.

The Agriculture Ministry on April 30 held the annual kharif conference with State governments, but is yet to release the crop production target as was the practice.