India’s foodgrain production, procurement may hit record high in FY19

India’s foodgrain production is estimated to grow to an all-time high of 284.83 million tonnes in the 2017-18 crop year ending June, driven by record output in wheat, rice, coarse cereals and pulses after a normal monsoon, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

“As per the fourth advance estimates on September 26, 2018, wheat production is likely to be 997 lakh tonnes and procurement 357.95 lakh tonnes for this fiscal against 985.10 lakh tonnes and 308.24 lakh tonnes in the last fiscal,” the ministry said.

The previous record foodgrain output was 275.11 million tonnes achieved in the 2016-17 crop year. The foodgrain basket comprises of rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses.

In its fourth advance estimate, the ministry revised upward the total foodgrain production by little over 5.3 million tonnes from the previous projection of 279.51 million tonnes for the 2017-18 crop year. The ministry releases total five estimates of foodgrain production at different stages of crop growth.

Wheat production has been revised upward by 1.06 million tonnes to record 99.70 million tonnes for the 2017-18 crop year from its previous projection. In 2016-17, wheat output stood at 98.51 million tonnes.

Similarly, rice output for 2017-18 has been upped by 1.39 million tonnes to record 112.91 million tonnes from its previous estimate, higher than 109.70 million tonnes achieved in 2016-17. Production of coarse cereals has been revised upward by 2.12 million tonnes to record 46.99 million tonnes from its previous projection made for 2017-18 and is higher than 43.77 million tonnes during 2016-17.

Pulses production during 2017-18 is estimated at record 25.23 million tonnes, revised upward by 0.72 million tonnes. The output is higher than the previous year’s output of 23.13 million tonnes. Oilseeds output has also been revised upward to 31.31 million tonnes for 2017-18 crop year, marginally higher than 31.28 million tonnes in the previous year.

In case of cash crops, sugarcane output has been revised upward by 21.9 million tonnes to a record 376.9 million tonnes from its previous projection made for 2017-18. The output stood at 306 million tonnes during 2016-17. Cotton output has been pegged at 34.89 million bales (of 170 kg each) for 2017-18 as against 32.58 million bales during 2016-17.

The state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) has also developed an e-procurement module of foodgrains to allow transparency and convenience to farmers, the ministry said. The e-auction of foodgrains under the Open Market Sale Scheme has reduced human interference and brought more transparency. “The consultative committee was told the state governments often face difficulties in land acquisition for godowns due to the prerequisite of being near railway lines,” a statement from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs said.

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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