By Vishwa Mohan
NEW DELHI: Backed by good monsoon, adequate policy interventions and phenomenal farm sector growth in a key agricultural state of Madhya Pradesh, India’s estimated foodgrain production is expected to touch an all-time record of 273.38 million tonnes (MT) in the 2016-17 crop year – over 8 MT more than the previous record of 265.04 MT in 2013-14 and significantly 8.67% (21.81 MT) higher than the last year’s production. The bumper output has potential to bring down food prices in coming months.
The agriculture ministry on Tuesday revised the country’s total estimated foodgrain production to 273.38 MT – more than one million tonnes of what it had estimated in its second advance estimate in February (271.98 million tonnes).
The upward revision under the ministry’s third advanced estimate is attributed to record production of wheat in the country where Madhya Pradesh, besides Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, contributed significantly to the overall production.
Similarly, pulses’ output in Maharashtra too has defined India’s record foodgrain story this year. Both the states are expected to contribute significantly to the overall food basket of the country.
Though the state-specific revised figures are yet to be made public, officials flagged the multi-pronged approach adopted by Madhya Pradesh (MP) for turn-around of this sector in the state in the past five year that led to its significant contribution in the country’s food basket. “Wheat takes maximum share in the revised figure and that’s the testimony of how MP, besides Punjab, performed and contributed to the overall foodgrain production”, said an official.
Foodgrain basket comprises of rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses. The revised output figures show that the country will touch all-time record production of all four – Rice (109.15 MT), Wheat (97.44 MT), Coarse Cereals (44.39 MT) and Pulses (22.40 MT).
“It can be attributed to the various policy initiatives taken under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, constant monitoring of implementation of all central schemes by my officials at the ministry, states’ efforts on the ground and farmers’ hard work in the year which fortunately saw normal monsoon”, said Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh.
He told TOI that the record production of pulses, backed by Maharashtra’s performance, clearly showed how the ministry’s intervention played a significant role in encouraging farmers to opt for these crops and helped the country overcome the acute shortage.
As a result of significant increase in the area coverage and productivity of all major Pulses, its total production during 2016-17 is estimated at 22.40 MT which is higher by 3.15 MT (16.37%) than the previous record production of 19.25 million tonnes achieved during 2013-14. The current year’s production of pulses is higher by 6.05 MT (37.03%) than the previous year’s production of 16.35 million tonnes which may not only reduce dependence of import but also cool food inflation.
Many reports indicated that the state has even seen significant increase in the income of farmers due to the state government’s multiple measures on the ground. A recent report of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), author by farm expert Ashok Gulati and his team, attributed MP’s farm growth story to the creation of irrigation infrastructure, making availability of electricity to farmers for longer period, building of all-weather roads to enable farmers to access markets over a larger area and robust procurement mechanism in the state.