Riding high on the hopes of a normal monsoon, the agriculture ministry aims to increase foodgrain production by 6.35 million tonnes to a record 298.3 million tonnes in the 2020-21 crop year.
The foodgrain output in the 2019-20 crop year (July-June) is estimated at an all-time high 291.95 million tonnes, as per the second advance estimates released by the ministry in February.
"IMD has forecast the June to September southwest monsoon rainfall over the country as a whole is likely to be normal. This augurs well for rain-fed kharif crops," Agriculture Commissioner S K Malhota said at a national level video conference organised to plan for sowing of kharif (summer) crops.
In view of the Covid-19 lockdown, Malhotra informed state governments about the exemptions given for farm activities and the need to follow social distancing and sanitisation during the sowing of kharif crops.
He said the sowing of kharif crops has already begun in some parts of the country and shared the foodgrain production target set for the 2010-21 crop year.
The ministry has set a target of 149.92 million tonnes of foodgrains production in the kharif (summer) season and 148.4 million tonne in the rabi (winter) season, taking the total foodgrain target to record 298.3 million tonnes in the 2020-21 crop year, he said.
Rice production target has been fixed at 117.5 million tonnes in 2020-21 from estimated 117.47 million tonnes output in the current crop year.
Target for wheat output has been kept at 106.5 million tonnes, same as the current level estimated for the 2019-20 crop year.
Similarly, coarse cereals production target has been set at 48.7 million tonnes in 2020-21, from the estimated 45.24 million tonnes in the current crop year.
Malhotra said the target for pulses production is 25.6 million tonnes, up from 23.02 million tonnes in the current year.
In non-foodgrain category, the ministry has set a higher goal of producing 36.64 million tonnes of oilseeds as against 34.19 million tonnes in the 2019-20 crop year.
Cotton output target has been fixed at 36 million bales compared with 34.89 million bales (of 170 kg each) this crop year.
Sugarcane production target is 390 million tonnes during 2020-21, up from 353.8 million tonnes as estimated in the current crop year.
On Wednesday, the Indian Meteorological Department’s forecast that the country will receive "normal" monsoon rainfall this year, raising hopes for higher farm output.
Nearly 50 per cent of India's cultivable farm area is dependent on the monsoon, making it the lifeline of the country's rural economy and agriculture sector.
The monsoon will be 96-104 per cent of long period average (LPA), which is normal for the season.
Photograph: PTI Photo.