PMEAC estimates 0.5 pc farm growth rate this year

New Delhi: Prime Minister`s Economic Advisory Council on Friday said poor monsoon is likely to pull down farm sector growth rate to 0.5 per cent in the current financial year, a projection that is even lower than in 2009-10 when monsoon was the worst in 28 years.

The growth in the agriculture sector was one per cent in 2009-10 when production had fallen by 16 million tonnes due to poor monsoon. As many as 338 districts were declared drought- affected in that year.

The farm sector had expanded at a rate of 2.8 per cent in the last fiscal.

"Farm sector GDP is projected to grow at 0.5 per cent in 2012-13 due to the impact of weak monsoon on agriculture," PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan said while releasing `The Economic Outlook for 2012-13`.

Monsoon this year is deficient by 10 per cent. As per the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast, August rainfall is likely to be normal but September rains may be low due to El Nino effects in the Pacific, the report said.

In north India, the rainfall in west and east Rajasthan and Punjab has been worse than that in 2009, while in Haryana it has been as bad. In south India, rainfall has been particularly poor in Karnataka, the report added.

Due to weak monsoon, the foodgrains output had fallen by 16 million tonnes in 2009 and "a similar pattern is expected this year", the report by the Prime Minister`s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) said. "Impact will be less severe than was the case in 2009," it added

"It is certain that crop output would be hit on account of the weak monsoon, of which one and half month yet remains to be seen," Rangarajan said.

Extrapolating on the basis of the experience of 2009-10, the PMEAC said it has placed farm sector GDP growth at the same level as that in 2009-10 fiscal.