New Delhi | Buoyed by a good monsoon after two consecutive years of drought, the country’s foodgrain output is expected to touch a record in the ongoing 2016-17 crop year, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said.
The country had last achieved a record output of 265.04 million tonnes (MT) in the 2013-14 crop year (July-June).
However, the production in 2014-15 and 2015-16 fell to 252.02 MT and 253.23 MT, respectively, due to drought.
The government has set a target to achieve a record foodgrains production of 270.10 MT in 2016-17 crop year on hopes of bountiful rains. It has pegged paddy output at 108.50 MT, wheat at 96.50 MT and pulses at 24.50 MT for this year.
“Overall, monsoon has been favourable to farmers this year. We have received good rains and distribution was also good. I am sure, we will have record production this year,” Singh said addressing a conference on rabi crops here.
Pulses production is expected to be a record as the area during the kharif season has increased sharply by 29 per cent to 143.95 lakh hectare, he said.
Even sowing area of paddy, oilseeds and coarse cereals in the kharif season has improved, he said.
Kharif sowing started with the onset of south west monsoon from June and harvesting will begin from next month.
Urging states to promote pulses even in the rabi (winter) season starting October, the Minister said, “since majority of pulses output comes from the rabi season, we need to continue encouraging farmers to grow pulses.”
Unless farmers do not get the minimum support price (MSP), they will not be encouraged to plant lentils in the rabi season. “It is for this reason, the government has started the pulses procurement operation,” he said.
The government agencies have started procurement of kharif moong in Karnataka and Maharasthra at the MSP. Other pulses like tur and urad will also be procured once their arrival begins on large scale, he added.