Amid criticism over wheat production estimates after prices remained high, the Agriculture Ministry has lowered the crop’s output to 110.55 million tonnes (mt) in the final estimates released Wednesday from 112.74 mt pegged during the third round of survey for 2022-23 crop year (July-June). The output was still a record and up by 2.6 per cent from 107.74 mt in 2021-21.

According to the final estimates of production of major crops for 2022-23, based on the data received from States and validated with other sources, total foodgrain output is estimated at record 329.69 mt, higher by 4.5 per cent from 315.62 mt during 2021-22. Further, the production during 2022-23 was 30.87 mt higher, compared with the previous five years’ (2017-18 to 2021-22) average production of foodgrains.

Estimates frequency pared

“In the current agricultural year, the conventional release of the Fourth Advance Estimate in August has been substituted with the Final Estimates now,” an official said. Earlier, the final estimates used to be made public in February.

Sources said the Government plans to reduce one estimate every year and finally in 2026-27, there may be one estimate which will be mostly arrived at and validated with the use of all kinds of modern technologies including satellite mapping, drone, weather station data, AI and ML. The Government is yet to release the first estimates for 2023-24, which was earlier announced in third or fourth week of September.

“This alteration allows for the swift provision of conclusive assessments for major agricultural crops, only a few months after the conclusion of the agricultural year. Furthermore, in this agricultural year, a more precise approach has been taken by separating the Rabi season from the summer season (zaid) in crop estimates,” the official source said. Previously, these two seasons were combined under the Rabi category. This separate estimates for zaid season has been done for specific crops such as rice, jowar, bajra, maize, urad, moong, groundnut, sunflower and sesamum.

Record rice output

Rice production is estimated at record 135.76 mt, up by 4.9 per cent from 129.47 mt and nutri/coarse cereals at 57.32 mt, which is higher by 12.2 per cent from 51.1 mt achieved during 2021-22.

Total pulses production during 2022-23 is estimated at 26.06 mt which is lower by 4.5 per cent than 27.3 mt. Oilseeds output in the country during 2022-23 is pegged at record 41.36 mt, up by 9 per cent from 37.96 mt.

Sugarcane output during 2022-23 is estimated at 490.53 mt, up by 11.6 per cent from 439.43 mt. Cotton production, too, surged 8.2 per cent to 33.66 million bales (of 170 kg each) from the previous year’s 31.12 million bales, the Ministry said.