Confident of high growth, says agriculture ministry after CSO paints dismal picture

The agriculture ministry on Sunday expressed optimism of achieving higher farm sector growth in 2017-18, quite contrary to the dismal 2.1% projection made by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) last week.

"We are of the opinion that the lower coverage of area by August, 2017, on account of delayed onset of monsoons has caused a poor reflection compared to the actual positive field situation by December, 2017," the agriculture ministry said in a statement here.

It said several parts of the country reported good rainfall after August, which helped the ministry increase kharif coverage in accordance with the targets.

On Friday last, the CSO released the first advance estimates of GDP (gross domestic product) and GVA (gross value added) and projected GDP forecast for 2017-18 at 6.5%, down from 7.1% for 2016-17. The main reason for the lower GDP estimates was the poor performance of agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

The agriculture ministry noted that higher growth rates in livestock and fisheries sectors contributed to the 2.1% farm sector growth projected by the CSO.

"... by December, crop - the dominant sector has bounced back. If this amended and actual field situation are taken into account in computation of the GVA for agriculture sector as a whole, its growth rate can be estimated to be much higher than the advance estimate of 2.1%," it said.

The ministry said the sowing for winter crops was progressing well and it expected to achieve "very good" production.

"The agriculture sector can, therefore, be expected to register a much higher GVA for the year 2017-18, when final estimate figures are released," it said.

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