Foodgrain output seen at record 285 million tonnes in 2017-18
Production of rice is estimated at 112.9 mn tonnes in 2017-18, while that of wheat touched 99.7 mn tonnes
New Delhi: Production of foodgrains touched a record high of 284.8 million tonnes in 2017-18 on the back of last year’s normal monsoon, according to the fourth advance estimates of crop production released on Tuesday. The latest estimates by the agriculture ministry are an upward revision from the 277.5 million tonnes estimated in February.
Going by the latest estimates, foodgrain production in 2017-18 is 9.72 million tonnes or 3.5% higher than the previous year, which also witnessed normal rains leading to the highest ever harvest of rice, wheat, pulses, coarse grains and oilseeds like mustard.
While 2017-18 marked the second successive year of record harvest of foodgrains, the year also saw repeated protests by farmer groups as higher supply depressed wholesale crop prices.
According to the agriculture ministry, while production of rice is estimated at 112.9 million tonnes in 2017-18, 2.9% higher than the previous year, production of wheat touched 99.7 million tonnes, about 1.2% higher than the previous year.
The data further showed that while production of coarse grains rose to 46.9 million tonnes in 2017-18, up 7.3% year-on-year (y-o-y), output of pulses grew to a record 25.2 million tonnes, about 9% higher than 2016-17. However, production of oilseeds during the year was stagnant at 31.3 million tonnes.
Among non-food crops, sugarcane production touched a record 377 million tonnes in 2017-18, about 23% higher than last year and the steepest y-o-y rise in production among all crops. Higher production of cane led to surplus stocks of sugar and a payment crisis for farmers. In Uttar Pradesh alone, sugar mills still owe farmers over ₹10,400 crore.
As per the latest estimates, farmers harvested 34.9 million bales of cotton in 2017-18 (one bale is 170 kg), 7% higher than the 32.6 million tonnes harvested the previous year.
The higher estimated output of foodgrains, and crops like sugarcane and cotton in 2017-18 may lead to an upward revision in the agriculture growth rate. In May, the Central Statistics Office estimated that agriculture GDP grew at 3.4% in 2017-18, lower than the 6.3% estimated for the previous year.
Other than foodgrains, production of horticulture crops also hit a record high during the year. Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh tweeted that production of perishables grew to a record 306.8 million tonnes in 2017-18 as per the third advance estimates of horticulture production, a 2% increase year on year.