NEW DELHI: India's foodgrain production may decline by 3.5 million tonnes to around 135 MT in the current kharif season due to floods and dry spell in some parts of the country, official sources said.
The country had produced a record 138.52 MT in the kharif season of 2016-17 crop year (July-June) on good monsoon rains.
According to the sources, the overall production of Kharif foodgrains (comprising rice, pulses and coarse cereals) is likely to be around 135 MT in the current season. Sowing for Kharif crops begins around July and harvesting takes place from October.
The fall is mainly due to less acreage under paddy and pulses in the wake of poor rains and depressed prices of lentils, they added.
Rice output is estimated to drop to around 95 MT from 96.39 MT in last kharif season, sources said, adding that marginal fall is also expected in pulses.
However, the output of coarse cereals will be normal during the kharif season.
This is the initial assessment of the kharif crops and output may be revised upwards as farmers may go for late sowing in flood-hit areas. Also, rains have revived in some states like Karnataka which witnessed dry spell in June-July.
Till September 8, area sown to rice remained down at 371.46 lakh hectare (LH) as against 376.89 LH in the year-agop period, as per the official data.
Similarly, pulses acreage is also down at 139.17 LH from 144.84 LH, while that of coarse cereals area at 183.43 LH from 186.06 LH in the said period.
For instance in Karnataka, the state official said that kharif foodgrain output could decline by about 25 per cent to 7.5 million tonnes this year.
"Due to lack of rains in crucial months of June and July, sowing could not take place. Therefore, not much area was covered under kharif crops. We expect 25 per cent drop in kharif output," Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre Director G S Srinivasa Reddy told PTI.
Last year, the kharif output was 98.27 lakh tonnes. The production target for the current year is 100.80 lakh tonnes, as per the state data.
Assam, Bihar, Gujarat and Rajasthan witnessed floods, while parts of Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu faced dry spell.
Earlier this week, Agriculture Secretary S K Pattanayak had said that southwest monsoon, which is key to kharif crops, has been "more or less normal, except in a few pockets".
The situation in parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Peninsular India, which witnessed less rain, has improved in the last two weeks, he added.