Faced with poor monsoon and paucity of Narmada water, estimated foodgrain production in Gujarat dipped by 11 per cent during the year 2018-19, states Socio-Economic Review for the year 2018-19 presented in the Gujarat Assembly on Tuesday. The production of foodgrains during the year 2018-19 is estimated at 66.91 lakh tonne, which is over 11 per cent less than 76.61 lakh that the state produced during 2017-18, states the review, which points out that the area sown under both Kharif and Rabi crops was less compared to the previous year.
However, food production is still way behind the record 100.71 lakh tonnes that the state produced during the year 2010-11.
During the year 2018, the average rainfall in the state was 638 mm. This is approximately 30 percent less when compared to 909 mm rainfall received in 2017.
The poor rainfall reflected on the agricultural production in the state. The area under foodgrains dipped by over 14 percent during 2018-19, as farmers sowed rice, wheat, jowar and Bajra in lesser area compared to the previous year. The production figures of all these foodgrains fell during the year.
If major oil seed crops like cotton and groundnut are taken into consideration, the Socio Economic Review shows that though cotton sowing increased by 33,000 hectares in 2018-19, the production of the crop fell to 50.53 lakh bales (of 170 kilogram each) during the year from the 101.13 lakh bales during 2017-18.
The production of groundnut also fell by 50 percent during 2018-19 when compared to the previous year.Hit by poor monsoon, the area covered by farmers during the Kharif and Rabi seasons last year also saw a decline.
“Area covered under Kharif crops till October 8, 2018 is 82.62 lakh hectares as against a normal area of 85.65 lakh hectare,” stated the review. “Area covered under Rabi crops till February 11, 2019 is 28.47 lakh hectares as against 32.67 lakh hectare recorded during last year,” it added.
“The state’s agriculture economy has witnessed a shift towards high value crops like cotton, groundnuts, fruits, vegetables, condiments and spices from low value cereals and other crops,” stated the review which emphasised on how horticulture has emerged as “one of the high potential sub-sector in agriculture.