Rice output this kharif season to be lowest in 2 years; to drop by 6% to 6.7 million tonnes  

Production of rice in the ongoing kharif season is expected to be 6.7 million tonnes  less than last year, according to the first advance estimate of agriculture production for the 2022-23 crop year (July-June). This is almost 6.05 per cent less than the same period last year at 104.99 million tonnes.  

Rice production in the 2021-22 kharif season was a record 111.76 million tonnes. If the numbers hold firm, then this will be the lowest rice production during kharif season since the 2020-21 crop year.

Rice output is expected to be down due to drought-like conditions in main growing regions of East India, namely UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Production will also be hit because of shifts towards other competing crops in some other states. The drought is not only expected to pull down output but has already started having an impact on the prices. Rates have climbed in anticipation of a shortage.

The saving grace, however, is the central pool stocks, which, as on September 1, were around 24.46 million tonnes. These stocks do not include 10.82 million tonnes of unmilled paddy lying with millers.

Meanwhile, as a consequence of the drop in rice production, total foodgrains production in 2022-23, according to the first advance estimate, is now expected to be 149.92 million tonnes. This would be down 3.9 per cent from 156.04 million tonnes during the last kharif.

In other kharif crops, production of pulses is projected at 8.37 million tonnes — this is the same as last year. Oilseeds output is estimated at 23.57 million tonnes, which is 1.29 per cent down from 23.88 million tonnes during last kharif. Sugarcane production is projected at 465.04 million tonnes, 7.69 per cent more than 431.81 million tonnes last year. Cotton production is estimated at 34.19 million bales (1 bale is 170 kg), which is 9.58 per cent more than the 31.20 million tonnes of last kharif season. Jute production is estimated at 10.09 million bales (1 bale is 180 kg), which is 2.13 per cent less than last year’s production of 10.31 million bales.

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