Drought in key paddy-growing states to bring down output of Kharif foodgrains by 4% | India News

NEW DELHI: Production of Kharif (summer sown) foodgrains is expected to decline by nearly 4% with the biggest slide of 6% being recorded in the output of paddy during 2022-23 crop year over 2021-22 due to drought conditions in certain states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Punjab, that witnessed huge monsoon rainfall deficit this year.
First advance estimates of Kharif crops, released by the agriculture ministry on Wednesday, showed the estimated overall production of foodgrains at nearly 150 million tonnes (MT) in 2022-23 compared to 156 MT in previous year.
As far as the most popular Kharif crop, paddy, is concerned, the decline is expected to be around 7 million tonnes in the current crop year (July-June cycle) compared to 2021-22, bringing down the overall output of food-grains in the country.
Improvement in production of coarse cereals (millets and maize) has, however, slightly bridged the estimated output gap, thanks to maize whose production due to crop diversification efforts during 2022-23 is estimated at record 23 MT which is higher by over 3 MT than its average production (average of last five years) of 20 MT.
Though overall production of Kharif foodgrains is expected to decline, the estimated output at 150 MT is still higher by nearly 7 MT than the average foodgrain production of the previous five years ((2016-17 to 2020-21). Even the estimated output of paddy at 105 MT is higher by over 4 MT than the average of previous five years.
Among non-foodgrains, output of Kharif oilseeds is expected to be flat at around 24 MT whereas production of sugarcane in the country during 2022-23 is estimated at record 465 MT. The production of sugarcane during 2022-23 is higher by nearly 92 MT than the average sugarcane production of 373 MT. Cotton output is also expected to be higher this year compared to 2021-22.
Officials in the agriculture ministry, that releases four advance estimates before the final one at different stages of crop condition and harvesting, said though these figures may change during the subsequent three estimates, the overall production of foodgrains during 2022-23 crop year would depend on the Rabi (winter) crops’ sowing that will decide the fate of wheat acreage.
Estimated decline in Kharif foodgrains’ output is attributed to poor distribution of rainfall in the country. Though the cumulative rainfall (June 1-September 21) over the country as a whole reported 7% higher than normal rainfall, many key paddy-growing states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Punjab – recorded huge deficit of monsoon rainfall during the season affecting the total acreage.

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