NEW DELHI: The country is likely to produce an all-time high 273 million tonnes (MT) of foodgrain in the 2017-18 crop year starting July and maintain 4 per cent farm growth, anticipating a good monsoon.
Foodgrain production is estimated to touch a record 271.98 MT in the current year (July-June) on the back of good rains after two years of drought, according to the second estimate of the agriculture ministry.
“Foodgrain production target for next year is set at record 273 million tonnes,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said while addressing a two-day national conference that is discussing sowing strategy for the coming kharif season.
Southwest monsoon is forecast to be normal which will help achieve the desired target, he said without disclosing the season-specific production targets.
It may be noted that 50 per cent of the foodgrain output comes from both kharif (summer) and rabi (winter) seasons.
Kharif crops are normally sown in around 72 million hectares. Rice, pulses (tur, urad and moong), oilseeds (groundnut and soybean), cotton and sugarcane are main crops grown in this season.
Junior Agricutlure Ministers Parshottam Rupala and Sudarshan Bhagat emphasised on providing timely support to farmers during pre and post harvesting periods.
Expressing confidence of meeting the target, Agriculture Secretary Shobhana Pattanayak said: “We expect another year of good monsoon. We expect the 4 per cent agri-growth rate will be maintained in 2017-18.”
Since kharif crops are heavily dependent on the performance of the southwest monsoon, the states should plan for all possible scenarios like delayed onset of rains, prolonged dry spells and less/excess rains, he said.
The Secretary further asked the states to encourage more farmers to buy the crop insurance policy Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana and aim to insure 40 per cent of the sown area (194 million hectares) in 2017-18 crop year.
Urging states to sustain pulses production next year, he said that it is a “big challenge” but efforts should be made to boost crop yields with supply of quality seeds and achieve the target of 23 million tonnes in 2017-18.
He also emphasised on diversification, market reforms and setting up of state and district committees for monitoring of agri-schemes.
According to the agriculture ministry, there is sufficient supply of seeds for the forthcoming kharif season. For instance, about 83.46 lakh quintals of paddy seeds and 3.75 lakh quintals of tur dal seeds are available.
Fertiliser requirement is estimated to be 28.99 million tonnes for the season, it added.
The two-day national conference is deliberating on how to increase foodgrain production in the next year and implement technology and new innovations in the farm sector.