The Agriculture Ministry has projected a record wheat crop of 80.98 million tonnes (mt) this crop year ending June, despite indications to the contrary from the market.

The estimated output is against last year’s record production of 80.68 mt.

The wheat trade was, however, unimpressed with the record projection. Going by the arrivals in Punjab markets and the slowdown in procurement, it is convinced that the crop would be a couple of million tonnes lower.

Wheat procurement on Tuesday was 21.04 mt lower than that in the same period a year-ago. With the carryover stocks being huge, there should be no worry for the Centre if the final production were to be lower.

According to the Ministry’s estimates, foodgrain production in this crop year will be lower at 218.19 mt against 234.47 mt, due mainly to the kharif crop being hit by a prolonged dry period. Cereals production has been estimated at 219.90 mt (203.42 mt).

Barring wheat, soyabean and cotton, production of almost all crops has been affected.

With rabi production being better (14.53 mt vs 14.27 mt), rice output this year is seen at 89.31 mt against a record 99.18 mt last year.

Coarse cereals are projected to drop to 23.20 mt against 28.54 mt a year ago with all showing a slippage.

Pulses production has continued to show improvement for the second consecutive year, thanks to a record production of gram (chickpea) at 7.38 mt against 7.06 mt a year ago.

Output of other pulses such as tur (2.56 mt v 2.27 mt) and urad (1.29 mt vs 1.17 mt) also showed an improvement but moong dropped to 0.73 mt (1.04 mt).

Oilseeds production has been projected lower by 2.3 mt at 25.40 mt. Soyabean output is estimated at 10.54 mt, the highest after 10.98 mt produced in 2007-08.

The production of castorseed (1 mt vs 1.13 mt), sesamum (0.61 mt v 0.75 mt) and mustard (6.59 mt v 7.20 mt) all declined.

Cotton production has been projected at 254.07 lakh bales (of 170 kg) against 277.19 lakh bales this year. This is surprising since the Cotton Advisory Board that comprises the Government, farmers, industry and trade representatives has projected a higher crop of nearly 300 lakh bales this year.

Sugarcane production is seen lower at 274.65 million tonnes against 285 million tonnes a year ago.

 Source: The Hindu Business Line

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