Food­grain Out­put for 2017 Pegged at 272 mt

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Our Bureau

New Delhi: The gov­ern­ment has fore­cast a ro­bust 8% growth in farm out­put this year af­ter boun­ti­ful mon­soon rains, rais­ing prospects of stronger ru­ral de­mand for con­sumer goods, au­to­mo­biles and gold, and strong eco­nomic growth. The strong growth comes af­ter a drought rav­aged the fields for two years and height­ened ru­ral dis­tress, but the ex­pected out­put bet­ters the record pro­duc­tion of 2013-14 by 2.6%.

“Higher food grain pro­duc­tion is good news for econ­omy, es­pe­cially ru­ral. This should help sta­bilise prices,” said Ashok Gu­lati, agri­cul­tural econ­o­mist and for­mer chair­man of the Com­mis­sion for Agri­cul­tural Costs and Prices.

How­ever, he said it was im­por­tant to wait for the rabi har­vest to get a clear picture. The rabi crop is pro­gress­ing well, but it can suf­fer if there is un­sea­sonal rain or hail­storms on the eve of the har­vest. Gu­lati said gov­ern­ment must en­sure that of­fi­cial agen­cies pro­cure crops if prices tum­ble.

To­tal food­grain out­put will be 271.98 mil­lion tonnes, ac­cord­ing to the agri­cul­ture min­istry’s sec­ond ad­vance es­ti­mates of ma­jor crops. The first ad­vance es­ti­mate was is­sued in Septem­ber 2016. The third es­ti­mate will be re­leased by May and the fourth one by Au­gust.

“As a re­sult of good rain­fall dur­ing mon­soon 2016 and var­i­ous pol­icy ini­tia­tives taken by the gov­ern­ment, the coun­try has wit­nessed record food­grain pro­duc­tion in the cur­rent year,” the agri­cul­ture min­istry said.

The es­ti­mate is 20.41mil­lion tonnes, or 8.11%, higher pro­duc­tion at 251.57 mil­lion tonnes dur­ing 2015-16 and even higher than the record out­put of 265.04 mil­lion tonnes in the 2013-14 crop year.

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