Mumbai: The country’s foodgrain production is projected to grow by 0.6% to 247.6 million tonnes (mt) in 2012-13 as against 246.2 mt in 2011-12. A modest growth in output of rice and wheat alongwith a recovery in production of coarse grains and pulses will be responsible for the overall growth, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said in its monthly report.
The rice production is projected to exceed 100 mt in 2012-13, while wheat production is pegged at 87.3 mt. The production of coarse grains is projected to rise by 0.7% to 42.3 mt in 2012-13. However, a fall in acreage of pulses had taken a toll on production in 2011-12. Pulses production is estimated to have decreased by 3.7% to 17.5 mt, mainly due to fall in acreage of gram and other pulses, CMIE said.
As the meteorological department has predicted a normal monsoon in 2012, the overall agriculture sector is expected to do well, but the major crop production is projected to decline by 0.6% in 2012-13 due to lower output of cotton and sugarcane production.
“We expect acreage of non-food crops to decrease and limit production to levels lower than last year,” CMIE said.
Production of non-food crops is projected to fall by 1.6% in 2012-13. This decline will largely be driven by lower output of cotton and sugarcane. Cultivation of cotton and sugarcane had noted a steep increase in 2011-12. Acreage of cotton scaled up by over 9% to touch a record 120.6 lakh hectares in the 2011 kharif season. Cotton production is estimated to have grown by nearly 6% to 35 million bales, in line with the ministry of agriculture’s third advance estimate.
However, excess cotton production and weak demand had led to volatile prices during the 2011-12 marketing season. As a result, several farmers incurred a loss.
“We expect this to deter farmers from cotton cultivation and pull down production in 2012-13. Cotton production is projected to dip by 7.8% to 32.2 million bales in 2012-13,” the report said.
The think-tank also expects the cultivated area of sugarcane to shrink in 2012-13, due to substantial cane arrears in the preceding year. The sugarcane production is projected to fall by 0.9% to 342.5 mt in 2012-13. Sugarcane cultivation has been initiated in many parts of the country for the 2012 kharif season.
Sowings were undertaken on 46.4 lakh hectares by April 27, 2012, higher year-on-year by over 5%. “However, we expect cultivation to slow down in the subsequent period,” it said.
Major oilseeds production is expected to grow by 3% in 2012-13. Higher production of groundnuts, safflower and sunflower seeds is expected to drive the growth. In 2011-12, groundnut cultivators turned to alternative crops in anticipation of higher returns. Production of groundnuts is estimated to have declined by over 17% to 6.9 mt.