The country is preparing for a record kharif harvest of 150.50 million tonnes with an increase in the output of paddy and pulses. Higher production of cotton, sugarcane, and jute and mesta is also seen, according to the Agriculture Ministry’s First Advance Estimate. This is despite the monsoon playing truant in many parts of the country.

Production of rice, the main kharif cereal crop, is pegged at 107.04 million tonnes, up 2.51 per cent over last year’s kharif output of 104.41 mt (per Fourth Advance Estimate).

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, releasing the First Advance Estimate today, said: “A record foodgrain production is estimated at 150.50 million tonne in kharif season.” The bumper crop is thanks to the tireless hard work of farmers and scientists besides farmer-friendly government policies, Tomar said in a statement.

Tur, urad lead pulses

Pulses output is seen marginally higher at 9.45 m t (8.69 m t, per the Fourth Advance Estimate last year) led by increased production of tur and urad. Farmers had expanded the area under tur and urad and the government had increased the Minimum Support Price by ₹300 each for the two pulses.

Tur output is pegged higher at 4.43 m t (4.28 m t), while urad is seen rising to 2.05 m t (1.60 m t). Impacted by dry spells in Rajasthan, moong production is seen dipping to 2.05 m t (2.34 m t).

Dip in oilseeds

Oilseeds output is also expected to be down a tad at 23.38 mt as groundnut and soyabean production was affected by the patchy rains in the key producing States of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, respectively. Groundnut production is seen lower at 8.25 mt (8.56 mt), while the soyabean output is estimated at 12.72 m t (12.89 mt).

Factoring in the trend on oilseed and pulses acreage, the government recently tweaked the import policy for edible oils and pulses to keep inflation under check and ensure enough supplies during the festival season. While the import duty was cut on edible oils, the trade was given more time, till January 31, 2022, to bring pulses into the country.

A decline in bajra and jowar is seen impacting nutri-cereal production. Bajra output is estimated lower at 9.35 mt (10.86) as the major producer Rajasthan had erratic rains for most part of the monsoon season. Despite a higher acreage under maize, the output is seen marginally lower at 21.24 mt (21.44) on a drop in yields.

The government estimates better yields to push up cotton output by 2.34 per cent to 36.21 million bales of 170 kg each despite a 6 per cent decline in the area. The production of sugarcane and jute is also pegged higher.

The seasonal deficit in monsoon till date is pegged at 3 per cent below normal at 810.6 mm. While a delayed withdrawal of the monsoon could pose a challenge to kharif harvest, it can brighten the prospects for the rabi crop.

For the upcoming rabi season, the government has set a production target of 110 mt for wheat and 10.66 mt for gram and 10.2 mt for mustard.