Rice and wheat production in the country scaled new heights taking total foodgrain output in 2018-19 to 283.37 million tonnes (mt), a tad lower than the 285 mt foodgrains produced in the previous year, according to the third advance foodgrain estimates released by the Agriculture Ministry on Monday.
Despite a below-par monsoon, rice output was projected to be 115.63 mt, nearly 2.5 per cent more than the 112.76 mt produced in 2017-18, while wheat production is estimated to cross the three-digit mark for the first time to achieve 101.2 mt, thanks to a favourable, prolonged winter.
According to final estimates for the previous crop year, wheat production in 2017-18 was 99.87 mt. The crop year is from July to June.
Coarse cereals disappoint
Overall production, however, was down by nearly 1.65 mt as compared to last year because of a lacklustre performance on the coarse cereal and pulses fronts. Coarse cereals output is projected to drop to 43.33 mt, about 9 per cent lower than in 2017-18. An across-the-board reduction in output is expected in most coarse cereals, including jowar, bajra, maize and ragi.
Pulses output is estimated to drop by 8.7 per cent to 23.22 mt from the record production of 25.42 mt in the previous year. The output of most major pulses, such as gram, tur and urad, is expected to be down.
Oilseeds hold level
At 31.42 mt, the oilseeds output is projected to be more or less at the same level as 2017-18. It is an achievement considering that groundnut production was nearly 3 mt lower than the previous year. A spectacular boost in soyabean production and a marginal increase in rapeseed/mustard output led to the recovery.
Cotton production was down, as anticipated, as the crop came under a Fall Armyworm attack in many parts of the country. The cotton output is estimated to be 27.59 million bales of 170 kg each as against 32.81 clocked in 2017-18.
Sugarcane, on the other hand, continues to improve further. Sugarcane output in 2018-19 is expected to touch a record 400 mt, which is nearly 20 mt more than in the previous year.