India said a near normal monsoon, which brought substantial rains across most of the country, should help output of food crops hit new records in 2017-18 and projected an all-time high foodgrain harvest of 284.83 million tonnes, 3.5 percent higher than the previous year.
According to the fourth advance estimates released by the agriculture ministry, rice output is expected to reach a high of 112.91 million tonnes while wheat was seen to be just falling short of 11 million tonnes.
Data showed production of pulses crossing 25 million tonnes, a sharply different situation from about three years ago when a drought-triggered shortage forced India to set up a buffer stock and lock in long-term deals with other producing nations.
A record increase is expected in the production of urad and gram which, data, showed, will compensate a shortfall in tur.
India’s foodgrain output estimate for 2017-18 (rounded)
Million tonnes (rounded)
Despite an anticipated 17 per cent drop in soybean output to 10.98 million tonne, total oilseeds production is projected to be similar to that of the previous year, at 31.31 million tonne, mainly due to an impressive recovery expected in groundnut output at 9.18 million tonne, up nearly 23 per cent from the 7.46 million tonne in 2016-17.
The production of coarse cereals too is expected to rise to a new high of 46.99 million tonne, up 3.22 million tonne from 2016-17, despite a projected 5 percent fall in bajra yields.
Sugarcane production, up by a record 20 per cent in 2017-18 to 376.9 million tonne, has precipitated a severe crisis in the sugar sector, forcing the government to intervene so that the sugarcane farmers can get their dues from sugar mills have mounted.
Cotton output, too, is projected to go up by more than 2 million bales (of 170 kg each) to 34.89 million bales, according to the official data.
Production of corn is estimated to be 28.72 million tonne, which is nearly 3 million tonne more than the final production in 2016-17.