“As per our study, the total rabi cereals production for the year 2018-19 is expected to be lower by 9.91 per cent to 115.49 Million MT and wheat is expected to show a decline in area by 2.54 per cent to 29.66 Million Ha and production by 4.99 per cent to 94.72 Million MT owing to scanty and inequitable distribution of rainfall in major growing areas,” an NBHC release said.
The northeast monsoon, between October and December, over the country had been “Substantially below Normal”. The cumulative rainfall in the country during the post-monsoon season i.e. 01st October 2018 to 31st December 2018 has been 44 per cent lower than LPA. Rainfall in the four broad geographical divisions of the country during the above period have been lower than LPA by 51 per cent each in Central India & East & North East India, 45 per cent in North West India and 36 per cent in South Peninsula.
This coupled with the drought in some parts have impacted Rabi sowing and could aggravate the distress in the farm sector. The southwest monsoon was almost 22 per cent below normal in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, while in north interior Karnataka, the deficit was almost 29 per cent and 37 per cent below normal in Rayalseema. In Maharashtra, Vidarbha reported 88 per cent post-monsoon rainfall deficiency, which is the highest in the state. Similarly, drought affected regions like Marathwada received 84 per cent less rainfall, followed by central Maharashtra at 64 per cent deficiency and Konkan and Goa at 56 per cent rainfall deficiency in the post-monsoon period.
According to NBHC, rabi rice acreage is recorded lower by 14.17 per cent and its production is expected to decrease significantly by 28.91 per cent due to major rice-growing states West Bengal, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are lagging sowing area.
Total coarse cereals are expected to fall by 6.9 per cent to 12.1 million MT in 2018-19. This is due to a fall in production of Jowar, maize and barley. Jowar has seen the biggest fall in sowing, with around 2.52 million hectares, a fall of 18.82 per cent over last year. Area sown under maize and barley fell by 5.67 per cent and 2.62 per cent, respectively.
NBHC has maintained that the most affected is the cultivation of pulses, particularly gram or chana. The acreage under gram is down in major growing States of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, which is reeling a drought. The gram acreage has decrease by 9.92 per cent to 9.70 million hectares from 10.76 million hectares in last year. Overall, the pulses have shown decrease by 6.75 per cent and the production is expected at 14.48 Million MT despite kulthi acreage and production increase significantly by 29.84 per cent and 31.23 per cent respectively. Masoor production is estimated 1.76 per cent lower at 1.71 Million MT as against 1.74 during 2017-18.
“However, oilseeds are the only crop which managed to retain last year’s level in terms of acreage with less than one per cent increase. A surge in mustard cultivation in Rajasthan has been critical in taking the total oilseeds sowing area to about 8.04 million hectares, which was 0.71 per cent higher than that in 2017-18. Mustard acreage is expected to increase by 5.03 per cent at 7.02 million hectares likewise production is expected to increase by 4.46 per cent to 8.69 million MT. Groundnut, Sunflower and safflower production for 2018-19 has been estimated to be lower at 0.97 million MT.,” observed NBHC in its estimate.