Govt banks on September rain for better kharif output


Seven meteorological sub-divisions spanning Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Haryana and coastal Karnataka have reported deficient rainfall between 20% and 38% raising concern over the kharif output.

Production of pulses and oilseeds is expected to take a hit which may force the Centre to resort to importing to tide over the shortfall.

“The current rainfall in the first fortnight of September in many States will improve the situation,” the agriculture ministry said allaying apprehension of a drop in the farm output.

However, the ministry said it did not foresee any drop in foodgrain production which for 2017-18 would be the same as last year — 276 million tonnes.

“The yield is expected to be same as of the last year. There is no drought-like situation,” an official statement said.

The Centre is expected to come out with the first advance estimates for food production for 2017-18, next week.

According to the fourth advance estimates for 2016-17, the foodgrain production is pegged at a record 275.68 million tonnes.

The ministry has already written to state governments to make irrigation provisions for crops that may face moisture stress due to deficient rainfall.

The farmers have undertaken cultivation of kharif crop on 1041.17 lakh hectares of farmland this year against the normal acreage of 1014 lakh hectares.

“The kharif crops coverage in almost all the states have been satisfactory and the rain during the period from September 1 to 10, 2017 in Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Odisha and Jharkhand have improved moisture in the soil,” an official statement said.

“However, some areas experienced deficit rain after the sowing of kharif crops,” it said adding that the state governments have already started making an assessment of the impact of less rain in these areas.

The ministry said deficient rainfall has been reported in 95 districts, but sowing was normal and satisfactory.

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