Between 2013-14 & 2016-17, rabi foodgrain output likely to drop by 1 million tonne

Between 2013-14 & 2016-17, rabi foodgrain output likely to drop by 1 million tonne


Much to our surprise, a careful relook at the newly released estimates on farm production from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare would reveal that the foodgrain production during the rabi season is likely to fall by almost 1 million tonne between 2013-14 and 2016-17. Please see chart-1.

Amidst the celebration of a bumper harvest in the ongoing crop year, it needs to be explained why the rabi foodgrain output nosedived between 2013-14 and 2016-17.  

The third advance estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare indicates that the rabi foodgrain production is likely to fall from 136.3 million tonnes in 2013-14 to 135.3 million tonnes in 2016-17 i.e. by nearly 0.7 percent.

The expected decline in rabi foodgrain production between 2013-14 and 2016-17 may be attributed primarily to two factors: (i) the demonetisation policy, which was implemented between 8 November, 2016 and 30 December, 2016, broadly coincided with the time period when kharif harvesting and rabi sowing had taken place; and (ii) southern states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka received poor northeast monsoon rainfall during October-December, 2016, which coincided with the rabi sowing time period.
 
Chart 1
 
Source: Third advance estimates of foodgrain production in 2016-17, released on 9 May 2017, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, please click here to access

Note: The figures for 2016-17 is based on third advance estimates, which has been released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on 9 May, 2017.

The total foodgrain production in each year has been calculated by adding together the total output of rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses.


It should be highlighted here that due to the banning of high value currency notes of Rs. 500/- and Rs. 1,000/- denomination, farmers and cultivators faced difficulty in selling their produce following the kharif harvest. They also struggled to purchase inputs required for rabi sowing during November-December, 2016. In other words, the shortage of legitimate currency notes adversely affected the sowing of rabi crops and, hence, rabi foodgrain production.

The other factor behind lower foodgrain production during rabi season in 2016-17 as compared to that in 2013-14 has been the deficit in northeast monsoon rainfall, which was faced by various states from southern part of India. A report from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) says that the largely deficient rainfall during October-December, 2016 was likely to have an adverse impact on rainfed agriculture especially in Tamil Nadu & Puducherry, wherein agricultural activities mainly rely on northeast monsoon. The same IMD report says that Tamil Nadu had received rainfall that was 62 percent short of normal during the northeast monsoon in 2016, whereas the subdivision received rainfall 63 percent short of normal in 1876 for the same season (please click here to access the IMD report).

A report entitled NE Monsoon worst In 140 Years, 144 farmers dead, Tamil Nadu declares drought by Abhishek Waghmare (dated 10 January, 2017) says that the overall shortfall in northeast monsoon rainfall as compared to the average during 2016 was 45 percent (please click here to access the IndiaSpend report).

Growth in foodgrain output between 2013-14 & 2016-17

If one were to believe the experts, then the expected total foodgrain production in 2016-17 should not ideally be compared with that of the previous two crop years i.e. 2014-15 and 2015-16 during which drought like condition was faced by most Indian states as a result of deficit southwest monsoon rainfall. This was pointed out earlier in a news alert from Inclusive Media for Change, dated 17 February, 2017 (please click here to access).

Since 2016-17 has been a normal year in terms of southwest monsoon rainfall, so the expected total foodgrain production in this year should ideally be compared with that of a previous normal year -- in this case 2013-14. It should be noted that for the country as a whole, rainfall during the southwest monsoon season (June-September) as a percentage of long period average (LPA) was 92 percent in 2012, 106 percent in 2013, 88 percent in 2014, 86 percent in 2015 and 97 percent in 2016, as per various reports from the IMD.

On comparing 2016-17 with 2013-14, one observes that the gross foodgrain output is expected to increase by almost 3.2 percent between 2013-14 and 2016-17 i.e. from roughly 265.0 million tonnes to 273.4 million tonnes. Please check chart-1.
 
The third advance estimates on agricultural production, which was released on 9 May, 2017, indicates that the total foodgrain production in the crop year 2016-17 is not only anticipated to be higher than that in 2014-15 and 2015-16, it is also expected to surpass the previous record level of nearly 265.0 million tonnes of foodgrain output that was achieved in 2013-14. Please check the chart-1 above.
 
Between 2013-14 and 2016-17, the kharif foodgrain production is likely to increase from 128.7 million tonnes to 138.1 million tonnes i.e. by almost 7.3 percent. On account of a normal southwest monsoon, the kharif foodgrain production in 2016-17 is likely to be higher as compared to that in 2013-14 (which was also a normal year in terms of southwest monsoon rainfall).  

Rabi production of various crops in 2016-17
 
From the table-1, it could be noticed that in case of rice, coarse cereals and oilseeds, rabi production in 2016-17 has been lesser than that in 2013-14.  

Table 1

Source: Third advance estimates of foodgrain production in 2016-17, released on 9 May 2017, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, please click here to access

Note: The figures for 2016-17 is based on third advance estimates, which has been released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on 9 May, 2017.

The total foodgrain production in each year has been calculated by adding together the total output of rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses.


The total production of rice is expected to be not only higher in 2016-17 vis-à-vis 2014-15 and 2015-16, it is also likely to be higher than that in 2013-14. However, rabi production of rice in 2016-17 is expected to decline from 15.2 million tonnes to 13.1 million tonnes between 2013-14 and 2016-17 i.e. a fall by 13.8 percent.

Wheat production in the crop year 2016-17 is estimated to be marginally higher than that in 2013-14 (i.e. an increase by only 1.7 percent).  

The overall production of pulses is likely to reach 22.4 million tonnes in 2016-17 from 19.2 million tonnes in 2013-14 i.e. a rise by 16.5 percent. However, the rabi production of pulses in 2016-17 will remain roughly the same as that in 2013-14, shows the Ministry of Agriculture's third advance estimates.

The total production of oilseeds in 2016-17 is likely to fall marginally by 0.70 percent vis-à-vis 2013-14. The rabi production of oilseeds is expected to decline from 10.1 million tonnes to 9.7 million tonnes between 2013-14 and 2016-17.  

The overall production of coarse cereals is likely to reach 44.4 million tonnes in 2016-17 from 43.3 million tonnes in 2013-14. The rabi production of coarse cereals is expected to decline from 12.1 million tonnes to 11.6 million tonnes between 2013-14 and 2016-17 i.e. a fall by 4.5 percent.  


References

Third advance estimates of foodgrain production in 2016-17, released on 9 May 2017, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, please click here to access
 
Report on Northeast Monsoon-2016, India Meteorological Department, please click here to access 

NE Monsoon Worst In 140 Years, 144 Farmers Dead, Tamil Nadu Declares Drought -Abhishek Waghmare, India Spend, 10 January, 2017, please click here to access 

Bumper Foodgrain Output Expected In 2016-17 But Production During Rabi May Be Lower Vis-a-vis 2013-14, News alert from Inclusive Media for Change, 17 February, 2017, please click here to access 

Acreage under rabi crops declined in 2016-17 as compared to 2013-14, News alert from Inclusive Media for Change, 25 January, 2017, please click here to access 

Cropping seasons of India- Kharif & Rabi, Arthapedia, please click here to access  
 
 
Image Courtesy: Himanshu Joshi



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