Agriculture

Government sees record food grains output in 2016-17; doubts over claims remain

Despite importing wheat and pulses, government claims production of these grains will surpass previous record

 
By Jitendra
Last Updated: Wednesday 15 February 2017
Despite record production of pulses in Kharif season, government imported pulses up to 3.5 million tonnes between April-November 2016. Credit: OXLAEY.com / Flicker
Despite record production of pulses in Kharif season, government imported pulses up to 3.5 million tonnes between April-November 2016. Credit: OXLAEY.com / Flicker Despite record production of pulses in Kharif season, government imported pulses up to 3.5 million tonnes between April-November 2016. Credit: OXLAEY.com / Flicker

Keeping aside speculation about impact of demonetisation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, in its second advance estimates, sets target of achieving record food grains production of 271.98 million tonnes in 2016-17

The projection was more than first estimation when the government claimed production of 270.10 million tones.

The target of 271.98 million tonnes of food grain production as per second advance estimates for 2016-17 is higher by 6.94 million tonnes than the previous record food grain production of 265.04 million tonnes achieved in 2013-14.

The current year’s production is also higher by 14.97 million tonnes than the previous five years’ (2011-12 to 2015-16) average production of food grains.

Rice production

Total production of rice is estimated at 108.86 million tonnes, which is also a new record.  This year’s rice production is higher by 2.21 million tonnes than previous record production of 106.65 million tonnes achieved during 2013-14. It is also higher by 3.44 million tonnes than the five years’ average production of 105.42 million tonnes.

Wheat and pulses

Production of wheat, estimated at 96.64 million tonnes, is higher than the previous record production of 95.85 million tonnes achieved in 2013-14.  Production of wheat during 2016-17 is also higher by 4.03 million tonnes than the average wheat production.

Total production of pulses during 2016-17 is estimated at 22.14 million tonnes, which is higher by 2.89 million tonnes than the previous record production of 19.25 million tonnes achieved in 2013-14.

What are the estimations?

 As per the second advance estimates, the production of major crops during 2016-17 is as under:

  • Food grains: 271.98 million tonnes (record)
  • Rice: 108.86 million tonnes (record)
  • Wheat: 96.64 million tonnes (record)
  • Coarse Cereals: 44.34 million tonnes (record)
  • Maize: 26.15 million tonnes (record)
  • Pulses: 22.14 million tonnes (record)
  • Gram: 9.12 million tonnes
  • Tur: 4.23 million tonnes (record)
  • Urad: 2.89 million tonnes (record)
  • Oilseeds: 33.60 million tonnes (record)

Source: Ministry of agriculture

Questionable claims

If we go by the government’s latest claims, India will achieve self-sufficiency in pulses and wheat. Record production of pulses (22.14 million tonnes) would mean that we are producing enough to meet country’s total requirement, which hovers around 23 million tonnes.

What is not being highlighted is the fact that India imported pulses of around 5.8 million tonnes in 2015-16. Despite record production of pulses in the Kharif season, government imported pulses up to 3.5 million tonnes between April and November 2016. According to government officials, increase in minimum support price and good monsoon are reasons for record yield.

The claims of government have often been questioned, even in case of wheat production.

In 2015-16, the government, in its fourth estimation, showed that wheat production was 93.5 million tonnes. But the estimation of government came under media and market scrutiny in the backdrop of severe consecutive drought causing less sown area in comparison to normal sowing. But government has not yet published its actual production of 2015-16. The decision to import wheat also put question mark over government data.

In 2013-14, when country witnessed normal monsoon, it produced 265 million tonnes of food grains. In the next two years, India saw two severe droughts, reducing the total production of grains to 252 million tonnes. It certainly puts a question mark on record production of all grains in this fiscal year.

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