Agricultural output may hit record low due to poor rains –

Agricultural output may hit record low due to poor rains

India’s agricultural output this year is expected to be lower than in recent years because of delayed and deficient rainfall and lesser sown area, the government has said.

Erratic rains and dry spells in several parts of the country have impacted the production of crops. Due to coverage of lesser area and low productivity, the production of most crops is expected to be lower than the record levels achieved last year, authorities have announced.

According to the first advance estimates for 2014-15, the production of kharif or winter crops is estimated to be about 120.27 million tonne (MT), which is lower by 8.97 MT from the record production of 129.24 MT achieved last year.

Among the major kharif crops, rice output is expected to be 88.02 MT, about 3.67 MT lower than last year’s 91.69 MT, while the yield of coarse cereals is expected to be 27.05 MT, a decline of 4.48 MT compared to last year’s 31.53 MT. The net sown area under coarse cereals declined by 18.56 lakh hectare.

The decline in area under tur and moong has hit the production of pulses, which are estimated at 5.20 MT, in contrast to the production of 6.02 MT last year, according to figures from the agriculture ministry.

Cotton output is also set to go down by 1.97 mn bales from last year’s record of 36.59 mn bales. The area covered by kharif crops stands at 1,015.18 lakh hectares, a decline of 25.67 lakh hectares from last year’s 1040.85 lakh hectares.

“These are only preliminary estimates and we have not taken into account the positives from the rainfall in September. We hope there is some improvement in the present condition,” said a senior agriculture ministry official.

The northwest India meteorological sub-division, comprising food bowl states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, is reeling under a rainfall deficit of 21 per cent. The central India, with 876.7 mm of rainfall between June 1 and September 22, recorded a deficit of 7 per cent while the south peninsula had 6 per cent deficient rains. The deficit in east and northeast India was 12 per cent.

The overall deficit for the northwest, however, was lowered with heavy rainfall in Jammu and Kashmir. The state recorded surplus rain of 15 per cent, to remain at 588.8 mm as against the normal of 510.7 mm.

According to the Met department, monsoon has already withdrawn from some parts of west Rajasthan and Kutch area and some parts of north Arabian Sea.

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