New Delhi: Days after the Central Statistics Office (CSO) estimated India’s farm growth rate at a poor 2.1% in 2017-18, the agriculture ministry on Sunday said it expects the farm sector to grow at a much higher rate, based on better-than-expected production of Kharif and Rabi crops.

On Friday, the CSO, while releasing the first advance estimates for GDP, estimated that the agriculture growth rate will come down to 2.1% in 2017-18, substantially lower than the 4.9% achieved the year before.

The CSO’s estimates were based on Kharif production estimates available until August 2017, targets based on winter crop planting as well as targets for livestock products.

Area under Kharif crops rose following better rainfall after August, the agriculture ministry said, adding that for horticulture crops the production estimate (released earlier in January) for 2017-18 is 305.4 million tonnes, higher than the 300.6 million tonnes the year before.

“The computation based on area coverage under crops as in August 2017 had a negative impact on the advance estimate for the overall agriculture sector," the ministry said in a statement.

It added that “the GVA (gross value added) estimate is bound to get corrected upwards, if increased area coverage by December 2017 and concomitant production estimate in case of foodgrains, oilseeds and commercial crops, in particular are taken into account."

The agriculture ministry added that the winter crops are “showing very good performance" and since plantings continue till early February, production is expected to be “very good".

The ministry also said that steps taken by the government for better credit availability for farmers, risk protection via crop insurance, electronic marketing of farm produce, soil health and irrigation schemes will help in achieving higher productivity.

High demand made by states for procurement of Kharif oilseeds and pulses also signal better productivity of rain-fed crops, it said.

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