Major crop prod expected to fall by 2.3 pc in FY13

Mumbai: The major crop output is expected to decline by 2.3 percent in 2012-13, following poor kharif sowing due to weak progress of the south-west monsoon, economic think tank CMIE has said.

"Major crop production is projected to fall by 2.3 per cent in 2012-13. We have revised the magnitude of fall from 0.5 percent to a steeper 2.3 percent. A change in base, along with poor kharif sowings have prompted the downward revision," Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy said in monthly report.

Kharif sowings have dipped by 9.2 percent to 735 lakh hectares by August 3, it said.

The poor progress of the south-west monsoon has taken a toll on sowings of all major crops, barring sugarcane. Coarse grains and pulses have been the worst affected, with the acreage decreasing by 6 percent.

"We project the coarse grain production to decline for the second consecutive year in 2012-13. A fall in acreage will limit the output to 38.5 million tonne," the report said.

Bajra production is likely to decline by over 20 percent to 8 million tons as the acreage has fallen by 27 percent to 46 lakh hectares, following reduced sowings in Rajasthan.

Pulses output is also expected to decline by 1.3 percent due to 16.8 percent decrease in acreage at 72.8 lakh hectares. However, the production of arhar and gram is projected to rise due to wider scale of cultivation, CMIE said.

Cultivation of rice has also been affected by 8.7 percent due to weak monsoon to 236 lakh hectares by August 3, hence, this is likely to lower the output by 1.9 percent to 102.3 million tonnes, according to the report.

Wheat production is estimated to remain stable at levels similar to last year. Overall foodgrain production is expected to fall by 2 percent due to lower out of both cereals and pulses, it added.

Similarly, production of non-food crops is also projected to decline by a steep 2.7 percent, CMIE said.

Cotton production is projected to fall by 8.4 percent in 2012-13, after 3 consecutive years of increase. "The sowings for cotton has fallen by over 8.9 percent to 100 lakh hectares and this is likely to limit the production to 32.2 million bales."

However, production of major oilseeds is expected to grow by 0.5 percent to 30.1 million tonnes. "We project production of rapeseed and mustard to scale up by 6.3 percent to 72 million tonne," it said.

Sowings of groundnut during the ongoing kharif season has dipped, with acreage down by over 18.8 percent, it said adding that as 60 percent of the oilseed crop is produced during kharif, output is projected to fall by 1.8 percent to 6.8 million tonne.

Sugarcane production is expected to scale up by 0.8 percent to 354 million tonnes, as its sowing is higher by 4.5 percent at 52.9 lakh hectares as of August 3.

Even as major crop production is projected to decline, the overall agriculture sector is expected to do well in 2012-13, it said, adding that modest growth in minor crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries is expected to lift growth in the sector to 1.6 percent.