Banking on normal monsoon, Centre sets record foodgrain target
The Agriculture ministry is targeting record foodgrain output of 283.7 million tonnes in the crop year beginning July, with 140.20 million tonnes targeted for the kharif (summer-sown) crop, on expectation of normal rains during the June-September monsoon season.
“The weather office forecast of normal monsoon this year is good news for kharif planting and farmers,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said. He said the government was working on fixing minimum support price at 1.5 time more than the cost of production. During the two-day national conference on planting strategy for the upcoming kharif season, SK Malhotra, agriculture commissioner in the Department of Agriculture announced, “the tentative target of foodgrain production for 2018-19 is 283.7 million tonne. For kharif, we have kept a target of 140.20 million tonne,”he said.
According to the second advance estimate released by the Agriculture ministry, foodgrain production would touch a record 277.49 million tonnes in the 2017-18 crop year (July-June).
Singh said the aim of the government was to make agriculture policy and programmes “income-oriented” rather than “production-oriented”. He urged the various state governments to implement central programmes such as the micro-irrigation scheme, provide quality seed according to soil quality, invest in cold chains and promotion of food processing. The implementation of the National Agricultural Markets and e-platforms (e-NAM) and to mitigate the risk, introduction of crop insurance scheme at a lower cost, should be the focus of state governments, he said.
The kharif acreage this year would be similar to that of the previous crop year at 107 million hectares. The government was expecting to increase acreage of oilseeds, pulses, rice, cotton and coarse grains.
The government has also prepared contingency plans for 623 districts in 28 states to help farmers deal with lower output in the event of scanty rains, or the delayed onset of the monsoons, Malhotra said. “There is ample availability of seeds for kharif crop. In soya bean there is an issue.
By BOA Bureau