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Foodgrain output to fall by 10 pc: Pawar

The delayed monsoon is all set to adversely impact the kharif crop output this year

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: September 25, 2012 1:09:20 am

Although the overall rainfall deficiency has improved and is now only about five per cent below normal,the delayed monsoon is all set to adversely impact the kharif crop output this year. According to the first advance estimates,the foodgrain output this season will be about 10 per cent lower than last year.

“As per the first advance estimate,total foodgrain production is expected to be 117.18 million tonnes in the kharif season of 2012-13 crop year,lower than last year but higher than the average production of 113 million tonnes in the last five years,” said Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar after releasing the figures today. Last year,the kharif crop output was 129.94 million tonnes.

Consequently,the Agriculture Ministry has set the overall foodgrain output at 249 million tonnes this year as compared to last year’s record harvest of over 257 million tonnes.

The output of rice,the major kharif crop,is estimated to fall to 85.59 million tonnes as against 91.53 million tonnes last year. Both kharif pulses (estimated at 5.26 million tonnes) and coarse cereals (26.33 million tonnes) are expected to slip by 15 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

Oilseeds output,estimated at 18.78 million tonnes,is also falling short by about 10 per cent. Among the cash crops,cotton output is estimated to dip to 33.4 million bales as against 35.2 million bales last year,while sugarcane output is pegged at 335.3 million tonnes as compared to 357.6 million tonnes last year.

Seeking to downplay the shortfall,Pawar said the output was better than expected and hoped the final figures would be more than the estimates. “This year,we have witnessed delay in onset of monsoon. The first estimates are better than expected. These are preliminary estimates and final estimates will be better than this,” he said. “Whatever shortfall we have seen in kharif season will be covered in rabi,” said Pawar.

“Due to revival in monsoon,I think rabi performance is expected to be far better than kharif. I am confident that late rains have improved the environment…conducive for record rabi production,” said Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna.

‘FDI will benefit farmers,consumers’

Allaying concerns that the government’s decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail will have an adverse impact on neighbourhood stores,Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Monday asserted that the decision will benefit farmers as well as consumers.

“Post-harvest losses in the country are high. There are losses in the entire supply chain,from farm to market. Investment in cold chains is required. More investment to set up such facilities will come with the entry of FDI. This will benefit both farmers and consumers,” Pawar said on Monday on the sidelines of a conference.

“I have seen in different countries,small retail shops continue to function even after the entry of FDI,” Pawar said.

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