New Delhi: The government has forecast that farm production will grow by a robust 4.1% in 2016-17, indicating a turnaround for the sector hit by back-to-back droughts, in the first advance estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) released on Friday.
Agricultural growth plummeted to 1.2% in 2015-16 and contracted by 0.2% in 2014-15 after consecutive monsoon failures dented production and heightened rural distress. The expected 4.1% growth rate follows a normal monsoon in 2016 and is close to the 4.2% achieved in 2013-14, also a normal monsoon year.
The estimates have been compiled using the first advance estimates of kharif production for 2016-17 (June-to-October) and targets based on rabi (winter) plantings, said an official statement. According to these estimates, kharif production increased 8.9% in 2016-17 compared to a decline of 3.2% the year before.
According to official estimates, livestock products, forestry and fisheries—comprising 39% of the gross value added in the farm sector—will grow 3.7% in 2016-17.
The expected turnaround comes despite lower crop prices denting farm incomes following a bumper harvest. A cash crunch following demonetization of high-value currencies in November worsened the farmers’ woes.
The cash crunch, however, has failed to impact sowing of winter crops, which is 2.7% higher than normal, shows data released by the agriculture ministry on Friday. Sowing of the main winter crop of wheat is complete in 99.7% of normal area but a warmer winter could impact yields.