New Delhi: Aided by a normal monsoon last year, India’s production of foodgrains touched a record 279.5 million tonnes in 2017-18, the agriculture ministry said in its third advance estimate of crop production released on Wednesday.
The latest numbers are an upward revision from the second advance estimate of 277.5 million tonnes released in February, and about 4.4 million tonnes or 1.6% more than the 275.1 million tonnes produced the year before in 2016-17.
The higher year-on-year food production is due to a larger harvest of rice, which rose from 109.7 million tonnes in 2016-17 to 111.5 million tonnes in 2017-18, and a record crop of pulses which rose 5.9% year-on-year to 24.5 million tonnes. Production of wheat rose marginally from 98.5 million tonnes last year to 98.6 million tonnes in 2017-18, the data showed.
Normal rains in 2016 and 2017 aided consecutive years of record harvests but led to a crash in farm gate prices, especially for pulses and oilseed growers, fuelling protests across India.
The latest estimates show that in 2017-18 farmers harvested 30.6 million tonnes of different oilseeds, marginally lower than the 31.3 million tonnes produced the year before. During this period, production of sugarcane rose from 306 million tonnes to 355 million tonnes, a staggering 16% rise year-on-year.
Buoyed by the forecast of a normal monsoon in 2018, the agriculture ministry has targeted a record 283.7 million tonnes of foodgrain production in 2018-19.