India targets a conservative 261 mt of foodgrain output 2014-15, in anticipation of monsoon deficit

India targets a conservative 261 mt of foodgrain output 2014-15, in anticipation of monsoon deficit

Our bureau
New Delhi, July 25:

In anticipation of a deficit monsoon rains, the Indian government has fixed a conservative estimate of total foodgrain production fr the year 2014-15.

According to official estimates, food grain production is fixed at 261 million tonnes for 2014-15, marginally higher than 259 million tonnes in the year 2013-14.

While rabi (winter) and kharif (summer) output combined together, rice and wheat production will be marginally higher, total coarse cereal production is lower than last year.

Total rice production is pegged at 106 million tonne in 2014-15 ( 105 million tonne last year ) and wheat at 95 million tonne as against 92.50 million tone.

On the other hand, total coarse cereals production is marginally lower at 41.50 million tone ( 42.50 million tonne). Incidentally, both total pulses and oilseeds production for 2014-15 have been estimated to be higher at 19.50 million tonne and 33 million tonne as against 19 million tonne and 31 million tonne last year respectively.

Among major cash crops, total sugarcane production for 2014-15 is estimated at 345 million tonne as against 340 million tonne while cotton production is pegged flat at 35 million bales and jute lower at 10.50 million bales compared to 11 million bales last year. One million bales is 170 kg of cotton and 180 kg of jute.

Meanwhile, the government has also prepared a detailed contingency plan for each of the 600 district to meet different situations arising out of delayed or deficient rainfall, prolonged spells of drought, excess rainfall etc.

Ashok Gulati, former CACP chairman said “If in August and September we have good rains, quite a bit of loss in kharif can be compensated in rabi with proactive approach of the government. If not, then we may get hit by lower production.”
Till July 24, the overall deficiency in the monsoon rains has been reduced to 24% from 34% of Long Period Average (LPA), calculated on the basis of a 50-year average rainfall of 89 cm, prevailed just a week back thus bringing cheers to farmers.

An agriculture ministry official said that the recent rainfall activities is expected to give boost to cultivation of soyabean, groundnut and cotton in the next few weeks. Till last week, the central Indian regions had received scanty rainfall.
As an overall strategy, the planning for Kharif 2014 has to focus on eastern India for cereals, crop diversification in North-Western Region and coverage of higher area under pulses and oilseeds along with adequate administrative and financial back up to farmers

There are proposals of subsidy to be given to replace old varieties of paddy with hybrid rice, use of farm saved seeds and drum seeder in Uttar Pradesh, to promote direct seeded rice in Jharkhand, hybrid rice cultivation in Odisha, zero tillage of rice in West Bengal.

More area under millets is one of the main agenda for Kharif 2014. As a plan to cut down loss in production of current Rabi crops due to likely spells of sporadic rains, states have been suggested o ensure that after harvesting the produce is immediately shifted to a warehouse or a protected area. This could be done through proper utilization of rural godown facilities available at primary level cooperative society, promotion of Farmers Producers Origanisations (FPOs) & PPP model for procurement, pledge loan facilities to farmers by negotiable warehouse receipt at mandi level and availability of godown under state warehousing corporation be made to farmers on priority.

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