New Delhi, Apr 25 (PTI) The agriculture ministry has set a target to increase foodgrain production by over 6 million tonnes to record 283.7 million tonnes in 2018-19 crop year on hopes of weather office forecast of normal monsoon.
The foodgrain output in the 2017-18 crop year (July-June) is estimated at an all-time high 277.49 million tonnes, as per the second advance estimates released by the ministry in February. The record production in last couple of years has led to fall in prices of agri-commodities and level of distress in farm sector.
"IMD has forecast normal monsoon this year, which indicates the likelihood of good crop production in the coming Kharif season," Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said at a national conference on agriculture for Kharif campaign.
The minister said that the minimum support price (MSP) for Kharif crops will be fixed 50 per cent higher than the cost of production as announced in the Budget this year.
Singh said the government will soon announce a scheme to ensure that farmers get the MSP price announced by it, if rates fall below the benchmark price.
Agriculture Commissioner S K Malhotra said the ministry has set a target of 141.2 million tonnes in the Kharif (summer-sown) and 142.5 million tonnes in the rabi (winter-sown) season, taking the total foodgrain target to 283.7 million tonnes in 2018-19 crop year.
In 2018-19 crop year, the ministry aims to increase foodgrain production by 6.2 million tonnes -- 2.9 million tonnes in wheat, 2 million tonnes in rice and 1.3 million tonnes in coarse cereals.
Rice production target has been fixed at 113 million tonnes in 2018-19 from estimated 111.01 million tonnes output in the current crop year.
Target for wheat output has been kept at 100 million tonnes, up from 97.11 million tonnes estimated for the 2017-18 crop year.
Similarly, coarse cereals production target has been set at 46.7 million tonnes in 2018-19 from estimated 45.42 million tonnes in the current crop year.
Malhotra said the target for pulses production is 24 million tonnes, marginally up from 23.95 million tonnes in 2017-18.
In non-foodgrain category, the ministry has set a higher goal of producing 36 million tonnes of oilseeds as against 29.88 million tonnes in the 2017-18 crop year.
Cotton output target has been fixed at 35.5 million bales compared with 33.92 million bales (of 170 kg each) this crop year.
Sugarcane production target is 355 million tonnes during 2018-19, which is the same as estimated in the current crop year.
Earlier this month, the Indian Meteorological Department forecast that the country will receive "normal" monsoon rainfall this year raised hopes for higher farm output and a boost to the rain-dependent rural economy.
Nearly 50 per cent of Indias cultivable farm-area is dependent on the monsoon, making it lifeline of the countrys rural economy and agriculture sector.
The monsoon will be 97 per cent of long period average (LPA), which is normal for the season. PTI MJH MJH BAL BAL
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