Kharif foodgrain production to surpass last year numbers: Agri Secretary

Crop area of around 19 lakh hectare across the country has been impacted by floods.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak said on Saturday that the foodgrain production in the ongoing kharif season 2017-18 is expected to exceed last year's record output of 138.04 million tonnes on account of higher sowing area and good monsoon. 

Till now, more than 80% of the sowing of kharif crops such as pulses, paddy, cotton, oilseeds, jute and sugarcane, has been completed and the sowing will continue in some regions until next month, he told PTI. 

Crop area of around 19 lakh hectare across the country has been impacted by floods and farmers are expected to take up other crops in the season once the water goes down, Pattanayak said.

He also expressed concerns about poor rainfall in various parts of Karnataka. 

There were floods in various states whereas there was drought-like condition in some parts of Karnataka, he said, while adding that there has been nearly 3% surge in the kharif crops acreage so far. 

Till last week, the total sown area under kharif crops across the country was 878.23 lakh hectare compared to 855.85 lakh hectare in the same period a year ago, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. 

Paddy was sown in an area of 280.03 lakh hectare this year, compared to 266.93 lakh hectare in a year-ago period, while pulses sown in 121.28 lakh hectare compared to 116.95 lakh hectare last year. 

On the other hand, till last week, acreage for oilseeds dropped to 148.88 lakh hectare in the current kharif season as against 165.49 lakh hectare last year. 

Pattanayak said, “This should not be an issue. It is lower so far, but the sowing window is not over. They (farmers) will take up little later on marginal lands. Overall, it is not bad." 

He, however, said that the total acreage is higher for all pulses, except tur.  

With regard to cash crops, Pattanayak said that the total area sown to sugarcane and cotton is more than last year and the production is also likely to be higher. 

According to the data, acreage under cotton has surged to 114.34 lakh hectare in the kharif season 2017-18 till now compared to 96.48 lakh hectare in the same period a year ago due to good monsoon and better prices. 

Likewise, sugarcane acreage has increased to 49.71 lakh hectare compared to 45.64 lakh hectare in the given period due good rains and timely payment by sugar mills for cane arrears. 

In the kharif season 2016-17, foodgrain production was at record 138.04 million tonnes whereas the previous high was 128.65 MT during 2013-14 kharif season. 

The Dollar Business Bureau - Aug 07, 2017 12:00 IST