Foodgrain Production Set To Hit A Record High Of 277.5 Million Tonnes In 2017-18Farmers manually threshing rice. (Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

In the crop year ending June 2018, India’s overall foodgrain production is expected to increase 0.9 per cent to reach a new record of 277.49 million tonnes (MT).

According to the Agriculture Ministry’s second advance estimate of major crops, the output of rice, pulses, coarse cereals, cotton and sugarcane is expected to be higher this year. A normal monsoon and wider planting in winter are believed to have contributed to high foodgrain output.

Total production of pulses is estimated to reach to a new record 23.95 MT, around 0.8 MT more than the previous year’s production, and rice output is estimated to rise to about 111 MT from 109.7 MT a year earlier.

Production of oilseeds and wheat may decline, the advance estimate suggests. The production of wheat is likely to drop by 1.42 per cent to estimated 97.11 MT. The decline is being attributed to the decision of farmers in Rajasthan, Punjab and western parts of Uttar Pradesh to shift to pulses during the Rabi season for better Minimum Support Price (MSP). The new MSP policy, which assures 50 per cent return over cost to farmers, will come into effect in beginning July.

In the year of plenty, the government is exploring options of procuring more and more foodgrains from farmers. One of the options, which includes extending guarantee to banks to make sure that the states are not low on funds for procurement, could be presented before the Cabinet for approval on Wednesday. This will help states procure foodgrains under the Price Support Scheme at MSP without worrying about funds.

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