India’s foodgrain ouptput to rise smartly if rain predictions come true

India’s rain-dependent agriculture sector is likely to benefit hugely if the predictions of a good monsoon come true, raising the country’s food grains production, the agriculture minister said.

Radha Mohan Singh told journalists during a briefing on his ministry’s work in the past two years that a normal southwest monsoon rains would boost sowing of rice paddy from next month.

Two straight droughts roiled India’s agriculture and led to sluggish growth in a sector off which more than 50 percent of the population lives.

India’s agriculture growth was 1.2 per cent in 2015-16 after a negative 0.25 percent in the previous fiscal. Forecast of good rains due to the end of the El Nino weather phenomenon has prompted experts to expect a growth of as much as 6 percent in the critical sector this year.

An excited agriculture ministry has set a production target of a record 270.10 million tonnes of food grains for the current crop season.

India produced 265.04 million tonnes of food grains in in 2013-14, but output fell sharply to 252 million tonnes in 2014-15 and 252.23 million tonnes in 2015-16 due to drought.

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