India’s agriculture and allied sectors may register growth exceeding 6 per cent in 2024-25 owing to a favourable monsoon prediction and the previous year’s low base, Niti Aayog’s Member Ramesh Chand told businessline.

“This year (2024-25) will be highly favourable for agriculture, mainly due to two factors. One, monsoon rainfall will be either normal or above normal, as per reports by various agencies. Even in terms of regional distribution, the forecasts are encouraging and healthy. Secondly, agriculture growth in 2023-24 was 0.67 per cent, which means the base (for 2024-25) is low,” Chand said.

Whenever such a combination has happened in the past, farm sector growth has gone beyond 6 per cent, he observed. “There is no reason this past pattern will not be applicable this year if monsoon rainfall turns out as per prediction,” Chand added.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted an “above normal” monsoon, at 106 per cent of the long-period average (LPA) of 87 cm, while private weather forecaster Skymet has said the monsoon is likely to be “normal” at 102 per cent of the LPA.

The Niti Aayog member pointed out that “real prices” of agriculture have been rising for several years. “If you take the wholesale prices of agriculture relative to non-agriculture, farm prices are rising. The wholesale price index (WPI) of agri-commodities is rising faster than non-agri-commodities,” Chand said, adding stability in maintaining prices is required due to this aspect.

The government’s action to maintain stability is seen by some as a move to bring down prices, he pointed out, adding that it was not the case. “Stability means to prevent an abnormal or unusually high level rise in the price of a commodity.”

Boosting exports

Chand also favoured boosting exports in cases of surplus production of certain crops because of bumper Kharif output.

Currently, the government has restricted exports of non-Basmati rice, wheat, sugar, and onions. The curbs on non-Basmati rice may be revisited in September-October when the government will have an assessment on rice production, official sources said earlier.

Rainfall between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of LPA is considered normal, and rainfall between 105 per cent and 110 per cent is categorised as “below normal.” The country had below normal rainfall in the monsoon season (June-September) last year.