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Govt stats predict farm miracle

Last modified March 02, 2016 10:15

Hindustan Times. New Delhi, 29 February 2016

If government data are anything to go by, India’s weather-beaten farms are looking at a miracle. Despite a crippling 14% deficient monsoon in half the country and possibly a smaller crop, the agriculture ministry expects higher output, prompting experts to wonder how the data might square up.
According to the second advance estimates – or the second of the four official projections of farm output made in a year – food-grain output will rise to about 253.2 million metric tons in 2015-16, compared to 252 million metric tons in the previous year. That’s roughly one million metric tons more.

A back-to-back drought – the one last year was more severe than the year before – has shrivelled crops, while a lack of moisture and an unusually warm winter have stoked fears of a reduced rabi (post rainy season) harvest. The output of wheat, the main winter crop, is projected to be 93.82 million metric tons, about 7.3 million metric tons more. This is also 2 million metric tons higher than the average of the past five years’ wheat output. Stories from the fields don’t match the optimism.
Wheat planting is lower by 3%. The estimates have also projected slightly higher pulses output at 17.33 million metric tons in 2015-16, compared to the previous year’s 17.15 million metric tons. The projected rise came even as the area under pulses shrank 4.3%. On January 8, Mohanlal Meena, agriculture director of Madhya Pradesh, a major wheat producer, told news agency PTI he expected the state’s output to drop 13%. On February 22, food minister Ram Vilas Paswan said he did not expect pulses production to go up. Yet, the agriculture ministry expects output to go up precisely in wheat and gram, a type of pulses, an official said.

Source: Agriculture Today, AgriNews, <>

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