New Delhi: A bumper harvest of winter crops and higher production in livestock and fisheries sectors aided a 5.3% growth in agriculture GDP in the first quarter of 2018-19, up from 3% in the same period last year. The latest estimates from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) is based on Rabi or winter harvest during the agriculture crop year 2017-18 (July to June).

Production of rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses registered growth rates of 15%, 1.2%, 15.6% and 17.3%, respectively, during the Rabi season, the CSO said in its estimates released on Friday. About 45% of the gross value added or GVA in the agriculture sector was contributed by livestock, forestry and fisheries, which registered a combined growth rate of 8.1% in the first quarter of 2018-19, it added.

According to the CSO, the wholesale food price index— one of the deflators used for calculating real GDP growth — rose 1.5% in the first quarter, compared with a negative growth of 1.7% a year ago.

The CSO in May said agriculture GDP grew at 3.4% in 2017-18, lower than 6.3% in the previous year.

The ongoing Kharif crop season will largely determine whether the GDP growth rate will maintain its momentum in 2018-19. Till Friday, data from the agriculture ministry showed that planting of rain-fed Kharif crops were completed in 102.3 million hectares, just 0.4% lower than the year before.

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