The Union government has set a foodgrain output target of 283.7 million tonnes (mt) during 2018-19, in the backdrop of forecasts of a favourable monsoon. The target is nearly 6 mt, 2 per cent, more than the estimated production of 277.5 mt in the last crop year (July-June).
The targets set for rice and wheat are 113 mt and 100 mt respectively, which are 2 mt and 3 mt more than the production in 2017-18 as per the second advance production estimates, said Agriculture Commissioner SK Malhotra, while addressing a national conference on agriculture for kharif campaign here on Wednesday.
Oilseeds, coarse cereals
While the target for pulses is kept at a marginally higher level of 24 mt, which will still mark a new record, the government aims to increase the production of coarse cereals by more than 1.3 mt to 46.7 mt in the current year, he said. The Centre recently declared 2018-19 as the year of millets.
There would be a concerted focus on oilseeds whose production fell much well below expectations, due to lower production of soyabean, groundnut and mustard/rapeseed.
However, Malhotra also admitted that soyabean crop faces a seed shortage of 93 tonnes as untimely rains damaged soyabean seed crop in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana and urged the States to use seeds saved by farmers with treatment.
Cotton, after a dip in production last fiscal, is expected to pick up momentum. The government has seta target of 35.5 million bales (of 170 kg each) as against 34 million bales last year.
The production of sugarcane in 2018-19 is expected to be as high at 355 mt as that in the current year that witnessed a glut in sugar production leading to slump in prices.
Talking about the rabi season just gone by, Malhotra said temperature during February and March was conducive for crop growth, helping farmers to achieve better productivity, even though hailstorm damaged crops in isolated pockets.
The Agriculture Commissioner also emphasised the need for increasing coverage of moong and urad in the kharif season by inter-cropping with soyabean, sugarcane, coarse cereals and cotton.
Source: The Hindu Business Line