India’s agriculture ministry pegs Kharif foodgrain production at a record 144.52 million tonnes in 2020-21

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Photo courtesy - Asian Development Bank

Foodgrain production is pegged at record 144.52 million tonnes in the 2020-21 kharif season notwithstanding COVID-19 crisis, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said. Foodgrain production stood at 143.38 million tonnes during the 2019-20 kharif season, as per official data. Currently, harvesting of kharif crops is underway. Rice is the main kharif crop.

“Foodgrain production will be better than last year. As per the initial estimates, foodgrain production is projected to be 144.52 million tonnes in the 2020-21 kharif season,” Tomar said addressing a digital conference organised by industry body CII. Production of cash crops such as sugarcane and cotton is also expected to be good, he addded.

According to the first estimate by the government, the agriculture ministry has estimated a record rice output at 102.36 million tonnes during the kharif season of 2020-21 crop year (July-June) as against 101.98 million in the previous year.

Similarly, pulses output is likely to increase to 9.31 million tonnes this kharif season from 7.72 million tonnes in 2019-20, while the production of oilseeds is projected to increase to 25.72 million tonnes from 22.31 million tonnes.

However, coarse cereals production is estimated to be slightly lower at 32.84 million tonnes in the 2020-21 kharif season as against 33.69 million tonnes.

Among cash crops, cotton output is estimated to be at record 37.11 million bales as against 35.49 million bales of 170 kg, while sugarcane output is projected to increase to 399.8 million tonnes from 355.7 million tonnes in the said period.

Tomar said the bumper production is estimated following a record increase in kharif acreage notwithstanding the pandemic. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a record increase in area sown to kharif crops by 4.51 per cent to 1,121.75 lakh hectares this year, he said.

Despite the pandemic, rabi crops were harvested on time and kharif sowing was done in a record area, the minister said. Farm exports too rose 43.4 per cent in the first six months of this fiscal despite the COVID-19 crisis, he added.

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