Production of Kharif foodgrain may fall 16%

Production of Kharif foodgrain may fall 16%

Mumbai: The country’s kharif foodgrain production is expected to decline to 98 million tonnes this year from 117.7 million tonnes produced in kharif 2008, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said here.

“Decline in acreage and expected fall in yield will lead to a 16% drop in kharif foodgrain production. It is expected to fall to 98 million tonnes from 117.7 million tonnes produced in kharif 2008," CMIE said.

The kharif sowing season ended with a 5.3% decline in acreage. By end-September 2009, area sown was 91.9 million hectares compared to 97.1 million hecares by end September 2008.

Crop cultivation was hit the hardest by rainfall deficit of 23 per cent during the 2009 southwest monsoon season. The decline in acreage was in addition to the 2.4 per cent fall in the 2008 kharif season, CMIE said.

The fall in acreage by end-September 2009 was on account of less area sown under rice, groundnut and sugarcane. Acreage under all other crops increased in spite of drought conditions in almost half of the districts in the country and poor rains in the remaining districts.

The worst hit was area sown under rice. Kharif rice production is likely to fall by 16% to 68 million tonnes. It accounts for 40% of kharif acreage and is cultivated throughout the country.

By end-September 2009, rice was sown on 32 million hectares compared to 38 million hectares sown by end-September 2008. This leaves a huge shortfall of six million hectares, CMIE said.

Major oilseeds grown in the kharif season are soyabean and groundnut. Sesamum, sunflower and castor are also cultivated in this season.

By end-September, acreage under oilseeds declined by 5.3%, mainly due to less area under groundnut.

Acreage under groundnut declined by 15.5% to 4.4 million hectares. Poor rains in Andhra Pradesh led to a 34% drop in acreage in the state.

Gujarat, the largest state growing groundnut, witnessed a 7.4% fall in area sown. Acreage under soyabean remained unchanged at 9.6 million hectares.

Sugarcane cultivation was completed by end-June 2009 and was down by 3%. Cotton acreage witnessed a sharp increase of 13% to 96.2 lakh hectares.

The production of coarse cereals is also expected to decline mainly due to a fall in bajra and maize production.

As kharif crop production is expected to fall sharply, the focus has shifted to rabi production. Delayed withdrawal of rainfall towards end-September is expected to benefit rabi crops and likely to compensate for the loss of production in kharif season to some extent.

The rabi foodgrain production is likely to grow by 1.3% during 2009-10, CMIE said.