Drought brings down foodgrain production

Drought brings down foodgrain production

Agri ministry estimates 3.5 pc decline in output

A day after the government projected a bleak picture of the country’s economic growth, the Union Agriculture Ministry on Friday estimated a 3.5 per cent decline in food grain production in 2012-13 compared to the previous year’s record output of 259.32 million tonne.

Food grain production in the country is estimated to decline by 3.5 per cent to 250.14 million tonnes in 2012-13 as erratic rains have hit rice and coarse cereal crops.

Though food grain production would drop by 9.18 million tonnes, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar claimed that the decline in output will not affect in meeting the domestic demand. The decline is attributed to drought in some districts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and parts of Karnataka.

However, the low food grain production has also impacted overall farm-sector growth, which is expected to rise 1.8 per cent during this fiscal, compared to a 3.6 per cent increase during the last fiscal.

In the agriculture ministry’s second advance estimate of food grain production for 2012-13 crop year released on Friday, the country’s rice output is expected to fall to 101.8 million tonnes in 2012-13, from a record 105.31 million tonnes in the previous crop year.  

Wheat output is pegged at 92.3 million tonnes in 2012-13, lower from a record 94.88 million tonnes in 2011-12. Coarse cereals production is estimated to decline to 38.47 million tonnes from 42.04 million tonnes. On the other hand, pulses would witness higher output at 17.58 million tonnes from 17.09 million tonnes in 2011-12.

In non-food grain category, oilseeds output is estimated to fall marginally to 29.46 million tonnes in 2012-13 from 29.79 million tonnes in 2011-12.

Cotton output is likely to fall to 33.8 million bales from 35.2 million bales, while sugarcane output is estimated to dip at 334.54 million tonne from 361 million tonne.

The Central Statistical Organisation on Friday announced that the gross domestic product is estimated to grow 5 per cent in the year ending March 31, weaker than the previous year’s growth rate of 6.2 per cent and down sharply from the 9 per cent -plus growth rate recorded in early 2011.

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