India sets foodgrain production target at record 285.2 million tonnes for 2018-19

The government of India has set a target of record 285.2 million tonne of foodgrain production in the 2018-19 crop year despite deficit rains so far this monsoon. India harvested a record 284.83 million tonnes of foodgrain in the 2017-18 crop year (July-June).

Harvesting of Kharif (summer sown) crops will begin from end of this month and sowing of Rabi crops will start thereafter.

As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), rain deficit in the current monsoon season beginning June is 9 per cent below the normal.

According to a senior agriculture ministry official, the target for rice has been set at 113 million tonnes in 2018-19 crop year as against record 112.91 million tonnes last year. Wheat output target has been set at 100 million tonnes from record 99.7 million tonnes in 2017-18.

The government has also set a target of 46.7 million tonnes of coarse cereals production as against 46.99 million tonnes last crop year.

Pulses production target has been kept at 25 million tonnes from an all-time high output of 25.23 million tonnes in 2017-18.

Among non-foodgrain crops, the target of oilseeds has been fixed at 36 million tonnes from 31.31 million tonnes in the 2017-18 crop year.

Cotton production target has been fixed at 35.5 million bales (170 kg each) while that of sugarcane at 355 million tonnes. In the last crop year, cotton production stood at 34.89 million bales (of 170 kg each) and sugarcane at 376.91 million tonnes.

Talking about the new procurement policy announced by the government last week, the official said states and private players have an important role to play in the new scheme while the FCI and cooperative NAFED would continue to procure foodgrains.

Ahead of the 2019 polls, the government last week announced a Rs 15,053-crore procurement policy allowing states to choose a compensation scheme and rope in private agencies for procurement to ensure a profitable price to farmers.

It is widely expected that the government would further raise subsidy on wheat and other crops this week, as it aims to fulfil its promise of doubling farmer income by 2022.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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