INDIA’S FOOD PRODUCTION
WHY IN NEWS ?
- Recently, Ministry of Agriculture released data on food production and it shows food production touched record highs in 2022-23.
ESTIMATES AS PER MINISTRY :
- Food production in 2022-23 is estimated at a record 329.7 million tonnes.
- It is about 4.5% higher than the year before, according to the agriculture ministry.
- While production of major cereals like rice and wheat rose by 4.9% and 2.6%, production of coarse grains was up a sharp 12%.
- Production of pulses fell by 4.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) but was 6% higher when compared to the five-year average.
- The estimated rise was despite a 7 million tonnes hit to kharif rice output after subpar rains in rice growing areas, forecast by the ministry in September 2022.
- Late rains during harvest also damaged crops in several states last October.
- Total production of Rice during 2022-23 is estimated at record 1357.55 Lakh tonnes.
- Production of Wheat during 2022-23 is estimated at record 1105.54 Lakh tonnes.
- Production of Nutri / Coarse Cereals estimated at 573.19 Lakh tonnes, which is higher by 62.18 Lakh tonnes than the production of 511.01 Lakh tonnes achieved during 2021-22.
- Total Oilseeds production in the country during 2022-23 is estimated at record 413.55 Lakh tonnes which is higher by 33.92 Lakh tonnes than the oilseed production during 2021-22.
- Total production of Sugarcane in the country during 2022-23 is estimated at 4905.33 Lakh tonnes.
REASONS BEHIND THESE STATISTICS ON FOOD PRODUCTION:
- In September 2022, the government banned export of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on some varieties, due to an anticipated hit to domestic production.
- The latest production estimates do not reflect the ground reality of high cereal prices due to which export curbs were tightened further.
- From July, export curbs on rice were strengthened.
- Last year, India had miscalculated its wheat harvest, which was severely blighted due to a heat wave.
- It had promised to meet a global shortfall in supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- But exports were hastily banned in May 2022 due to a domestic shortfall.
FOODGRAIN PRODUCTION AND INFLATION:
- Record production of food grains and export curbs were expected to check prices.
- But retail inflation in cereals have been in double digits for some time driven by wheat and rice.
- Consumer cereal prices, in September, were 11% up y-o-y, and pulses were 16.4% higher.
- As on 21 October, retail rice and wheat flour prices were 12.7% and 5% up y-o-y.
ESTIMATES FOR 2023-24 FOOD PRODUCTION:
- The first advance estimate of kharif production is usually released in September but is yet to be published.
- The monsoon this year had the lowest rains in five years besides being unevenly spread.
- Production of rice, the main kharif crop, is expected to take a hit both due to excess and deficit rains.
- Less rain in several states is likely to hit production of pulses and oilseeds.
- Consumer affairs ministry data show that for certain varieties of pulses like tur (pigeon peas) retail prices are 38% higher than last year.
HOW CAN ESTIMATES BE MORE PRECISE?
- For crop yield estimates at the national level, the government relies on crop cutting experiments by state revenue and agriculture departments.
- Experts have raised concerns on reliability of data collected by understaffed state departments—which often tend to overestimate production.
- India is using remote sensing to cross check this data.
- Moreover, reliability is low for crops with multiple plucking.
- Unlike food grains, horticulture crops are not harvested in one go, and estimating yield is more difficult.
SYLLABUS: MAINS, GS-3, INDIAN ECONOMY
SOURCE: THE HINDU