Foodgrain production to grow by 0.6% in ’12-13: CMIE

Source: The Hindu Business Line, May 20, 2012

Mumbai: The country’s foodgrain production is projected to grow by 0.6 percent to 247.6 million tonnes in 2012-13 as against 246.2 million tonnes in 2011-12.

A modest growth in output of rice and wheat, alongwith a recovery in production of coarse grains and pulses will be responsible for the overall growth, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said in its monthly report here.

The rice production is projected to exceed 100 million tonnes in 2012-13, while wheat production is pegged at 87.3 million tonnes. The production of coarse grains is projected to rise by 0.7 per cent to 42.3 million tonnes in 2012-13.

However, a fall in acreage of pulses had taken a toll on production in 2011-12. Pulses production is estimated to have decreased by 3.7 per cent to 17.5 million tonnes, mainly due to fall in acreage of gram and other pulses, CMIE said.

As the meteorological department has predicted a normal monsoon in 2012, the overall agriculture sector is expected to do well, but the major crop production is projected to decline by 0.6 percent in 2012-13 due to lower output of cotton and sugarcane production.

“We expect acreage of non-food crops to decrease and limit production to levels lower than last year,” CMIE said.

Production of non-food crops is projected to fall by 1.6 per cent in 2012-13. This decline will largely be driven by lower output of cotton and sugarcane.

Cultivation of cotton and sugarcane had noted a steep increase in 2011-12. Acreage of cotton scaled up by over nine percent to touch a record 120.6 lakh hectares in the 2011 kharif season. Cotton production is estimated to have grown by nearly six percent to 35 million bales, in line with the Ministry of Agriculture’s third advance estimate.

However, excess cotton production and weak demand had led to volatile prices during the 2011-12 marketing season. As a result, several farmers incurred a loss.

“We expect this to deter farmers from cotton cultivation and pull down production in 2012-13. Cotton production is projected to dip by 7.8 percent to 32.2 million bales in 2012-13,” CMIE report said.

The think-tank also expects the cultivated area of sugarcane to shrink in 2012-13, due to substantial cane arrears in the preceding year. Sugarcane production is projected to fall by 0.9 percent to 342.5 million tonnes in 2012-13.

Sugarcane cultivation has been initiated in many parts of the country for the 2012 kharif season. Sowings were undertaken on 46.4 lakh hectares by April 27, 2012, higher year-on-year by over five percent. “However, we expect cultivation to slow down in the subsequent period,” it said.

Major oilseeds production is expected to grow by three percent in 2012-13, after being hit in the preceding year. Higher production of groundnuts, safflower and sunflower seeds is expected to drive the growth.

In 2011-12, groundnut cultivators turned to alternative crops in anticipation of higher returns. Production of groundnuts is estimated to have declined by over 17 percent to 6.9 million tonnes.

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