Punjab, Haryana grain output likely to drop

Punjab, Haryana grain output likely to drop

Untimely rains affected crops in 'food bowls' of India, say experts

After bumper harvests last year, Punjab and Haryana, considered food bowls of the country, are likely to fall short of their grain production targets.

Production of wheat has dropped in both states. With the procurement season about to be over within a few days, the projected deficit in wheat arrival in Punjab is about 30 lakh tonnes.

Grain markets in the state expect about 110 lakh metric tonnes of wheat as against the projected target of 140 lakh tonnes. The quantity is way less than last year’s bumper arrival of 129 lakh tonnes.  Experts attributed the fall in production to an untimely rainfall in March which damaged the standing crop. Sources in the government said farmers in Punjab stand to lose about Rs 3,000 crore.

The Bharitiya Kisan Union has pegged the damage at Rs 4,750 crore. Director of Punjab Agriculture Department Mangal Singh has confirmed the production deficit. He said the region was hit by rainfall in March which damaged the crop leading to “below-expectation arrivals in grain markets.”

In Haryana, the drop was steeper than Punjab. Wheat arrival is likely to drop from 88 lakh tonnes last year to 60 lakh tonne this year, sources said. Experts said the plunge in production was not a matter of serious concern since “the fall was on account of an uncontrollable variable, adverse weather condition, which prevailed during that time.”

The area under wheat production has remained constant, though the government intends to curtail the area under traditional crops and encourage farmers to diversify for better yield. Haryana Bhartiya Kisan Union president Gurman Singh said the government should offer bonus to the farmers. With many new states taking up wheat production, the dependence on Punjab and Haryana to fill the central grain pool will also reduce. At present, the two states account for about 70 per cent of the wheat produced.  

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