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Good rainfall to bring rebound in pulses, kharif harvest

Cultivation of pulses has expanded 41 per cent this year, which should calm soaring prices, latest official data shows.

, ET Bureau|
Jul 30, 2016, 03.11 AM IST
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Total kharif planting is up 6.3 per cent at 799.51 lakh hectares compared to a year ago, but the output may rise even higher due to better productivity in the course of this year’s normal monsoon.
Total kharif planting is up 6.3 per cent at 799.51 lakh hectares compared to a year ago, but the output may rise even higher due to better productivity in the course of this year’s normal monsoon.
NEW DELHI: A bumper harvest of pulses along with a rebound in the kharif harvest is on the horizon because of higher planting of crops and better rainfall, which officials say will cheer farmers after two years of distress and calm food inflation.

Cultivation of pulses has expanded 41 per cent this year, which should calm soaring prices, latest official data shows. Total kharif planting is up 6.3 per cent at 799.51 lakh hectares compared to a year ago, but the output may rise even higher due to better productivity in the course of this year’s normal monsoon unlike erratic and deficient rainfall in the past two years.

Ramesh Chand, a member of Niti Aayog said agricultural growth can touch 6 per cent in 2016-17 with the country receives good rains and increase in planting area.

"I expect a major impact on productivity of crop which can easily grow by 3-4 per cent. Good monsoon rains will also provide some respite to farmers facing the agrarian distress as they will be save on the input cost like diesel," he told ET.

Heavy rainfall in key agricultural areas helped total kharif planting increase by 15 per cent in a week. The increase was largely seen in acreage of rice, pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals. The kharif crop accounts for more than half of the total food output.

Among pulses, planting of arhar rose more than 68 per cent from last year and is expected to further increase with farmers in Saurashtra region of Gujarat going for planting. Higher planting was recorded in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Rice planting, at 231.92 lakh hectare, is 2.8 per cent higher than last year. The acreage has increased largesly in Maharashtra, Bihar, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. This kharif season rice will be planted on 392.81 lakh hectare. Area under coarse cereals which includes maize, bajra, ragi, small millets and maize rose 4.09 per cent over the previous year to cover 150.76 lakh hectares. Oilseeds planting increased 8 per cent from the previous to 159.78 lakh hectare, while area under groundnut saw a significant increase from the previous year and has till date been planted on 38.57 lakh hectares.

Planting of soyabean, an important commodity in the edible oil basket, has also increased and was planted on 109.16 lakh hectares. This year’s monsoon has been normal so far with a surplus of 4 per cent-7 per cent in north, south and central India, which is agriculturally the most relevant. Only the east and northeast have a rainfall deficit of 12 per cent, which has contributed to the statistic of 23 per cent of the country getting deficient rain.

The agriculture ministry has set a target of producing 270.1 million tonnes of foodgrain in 2016-17 beginning June, which is 7 per cent higher than the previous year’s crop.

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