At an estimated 117.18 million tonnes, it is, however, “better than expected,” says Pawar
At an estimated 117.18 million tonnes, kharif production is expected to fall short of the target by 11.84 million tonnes this year, what with the delayed and deficient monsoon hitting production of coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds in parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
It is lower by 12.76 million tonnes than what was achieved during kharif of 2011-12, though the southwest monsoon deficiency has come down to five per cent after significant late rainfall in August and September.
Releasing the first advance estimates of kharif production for the 2012-13 marketing season here, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that at 117. 18 million tonnes, the output would be lower than the target (129.02 million tonnes) and even last year’s final estimates (129.94 million tonnes) but was still “better than expected.”
“We expect the shortfall to be made up in the rabi (summer crop) season as delayed rain has helped to restore moisture in the soil, especially in the rainfed areas,” he said, after inaugurating the rabi campaign for 2012-13 to decide on sowing strategies with State government representatives.
“The target for next wheat harvest is set at 86 million tonnes.” Wheat production in 2011-12 was a record 93.90 million tonnes.
Kharif rice production is expected to be 85.59 million tonnes against the target of 89 million tonnes. In the past five years, the output was 85.51 million tonnes.
Coarse cereals production is expected to be 26.33 million tonnes against the target of 33 million tonnes. Of this, jowar output is expected at 2.63 million tonnes, bajra at 6.60 million tonnes and maize at 14.89 million tonnes. Jowar and bajra output last year was 3.50 million tonnes and 10.05 million tonnes.
Mr. Pawar said pulses output was also likely to be lower, at 5.56 million tonnes, compared to 6.16 million tonnes last year. “There is a decline in output of moong and moth, though urad will be higher and tur will be as per expectation.”
Against the target of 20.78 million tonnes, oilseeds production is expected to be 18.78 million tonnes. This includes groundnut 3.82 million tonnes, castor seeds 1.40 million tonnes, soya bean 12.62 million tonnes and sesamum 0.76 million tonnes. The “encouraging” soya bean production, Mr. Pawar said, would offset the decline in groundnut (owing to lower sowing in Gujarat and parts of Karnataka).
Cotton output is expected to be 334 lakh bales of 170 kg each, against 352 lakh bales in 2011-12. Sugarcane output is likely to be 335.33 million tonnes, compared with 357.66 million tonnes in 2011-12.
“The late rain in August and September improved the situation as well as the storage in reservoirs. I give full credit to farmers and our scientists that despite [the] erratic and delayed monsoon, they could achieve this result,” Mr. Pawar said.
Asking the States to keep up the momentum of 3.3 per cent annual growth rate achieved during the 11 Plan, he said the overall target for grain production in 2012-13 was set at 249.52 million tonnes. Last year, against the target of 245 million tonnes, the country produced 257.44 million tonnes.
Answering a question on the rising prices, he said there were enough stocks of wheat, rice and sugar, and he saw no reason for their prices going up. “[The Food Ministry] should release more sugar in the open market to keep prices under check.”