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‘Near-normal monsoon may boost foodgrain production’

Farm workers weeding at a paddy field in Palakkad. File

Farm workers weeding at a paddy field in Palakkad. File   | Photo Credit: K.K. Mustafah

This summer’s foodgrain production is likely to be higher than last year’s, according to the Agriculture Ministry targets for the kharif season, riding on the back of the Indian Meteorological Department’s forecast of a “near-normal” monsoon.

Rice production this summer is expected to hit 102 million tonnes, while total foodgrain production is being pegged at 147.9 million tonnes, according to the Ministry’s presentation at its annual Kharif Conference on Thursday. These targets for kharif 2019 are higher than last year’s targets, as well as the actual output in 2018. Second advance estimates show foodgrain production touching 142.24 million tonnes in the 2018 kharif season, with rice output of 101.96 MT.

Rabi harvest

The Ministry is also targeting a higher rabi or winter season harvest in 2019, with foodgrain production set at 143.2 MT. The wheat production target is marginally higher than last year’s target at 100.5 MT.

With regard to coarse cereals, the Ministry has maintained its targets for jowar, bajra, small millets and barley at exactly the same level as last year, but hopes to increase the production of maize, projecting a 1.6 MT increase to hit a production of 28.9 MT from both kharif and rabi seasons together. This has pushed up the overall coarse cereal target to 48.3 MT in the coming year.

Cane farmers hit hard

Sugarcane production is likely to set a new record again this year, with the Ministry projecting a harvest of 385.5 MT, a jump from last year’s target of 355 MT. Record harvests over the last few years have caused a glut in production, leading to a crash in sugar prices, leaving cane farmers in the lurch as mills are unable to pay them their pending dues.

Oilseeds production targets for 2019-20 remained steady at 36.1 MT, while cotton production targets increased minimally to 35.75 million bales, with each bale representing 170 kg.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 8:13:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/foodgrain-production-targets-high-due-to-near-normal-monsoon-forecast/article26945784.ece

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