India's foodgrain production to hit record high in 2020-21

India is likely to achieve an all-time high foodgrains production of over 297 million tonnes in 2020-21, the fifth consecutive year of record production, as per the government’s second advance estimate, which is to be released soon.

This will be slightly more than the fourth advance estimate of 2019-20, which is at over 296 million tonnes.

However, the estimated production is short of 301 million tonnes of food grains production targeted for 2020-21.

“We expect to meet the target. There will be three more estimates before finalizing the production for this year. The figure will move up in subsequent estimates,” said an agriculture ministry official.

As per the second advance estimate to be released soon, wheat production is likely to be around 107 million tonnes while rice output may touch 119 million tonnes, a record high. The pulses production will be at last year’s level at 23 million tonnes while the output of oilseeds is set to go up.

“After achieving self-sufficiency in pulses, our focus is on raising oilseeds output to reduce dependence on edible oil imports. This year, we are likely to cross 34 million tonnes as against last year’s fourth advance estimate of 33.4 million tonnes. The production of oilseeds will go up in subsequent years,” the official said.

The projection of record production is significant amid the Covid-19 pandemic and farmers’ agitation.

Punjab, which has been the nerve centre of farmers’ protest, has seen record procurement of rice at 13.58 million tonnes, which is 24% more than last year.

“There has been no impact of pandemic and farmers’ agitation in farm activities so far in the country. Farmers in Punjab actively participated in the procurement exercise and planted wheat across areas at last year’s level,” the official said.

The year-on-year record production has resulted in a surge in farm exports, which rose 25% to Rs 1.02 lakh crore in the first three quarters of fiscal 2020-21.

“The increase is mainly because of a sharp increase of 52% in exports of cereals like wheat, rice and other nutri-cereals including maize, millets, and sorghum. Many countries facing food grains shortage stocked up amid the uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the official said.