Wheat production may cross 113 mn tonnes: Skymet Report
Wheat production during the current rabi season could be a record 113.66 million tonnes, nearly 10 per cent more than the 103.6 mt output in the previous year
According to the crop estimate report recently released by private weather forecasting firm Skymet ,wheat production during the current rabi season could be a record 113.66 million tonnes, nearly 10 per cent more than the 103.6 mt output in the previous year, while gram output could be 8 per cent higher at 10.74 mt.
Wheat production estimates of Skymet are much higher than the 106 mt projected by the second advance estimates of the Agriculture Ministry. Production of mustard and rapeseed, on other hand, would see only a marginal increase of 2.7 per cent at 9.5 mt as against 9.25 mt in the previous rabi season.
Impact of lockdown
However, the Skymet report said that because of the nationwide lockdown, agricultural activities and supply chain were disrupted. Initially, the non-availability of migrant labour interrupted some harvesting activities.
“Though the government is trying to normalise the situation, even till date the situation is dismal as farmers and their produce are unable to reach the market due to the lockdown,” the report said. As a result, producer is battling to sell the produce at appropriate prices, it added.
Horticulture supply chain disruption
The worst-hit, according to Skymet, are horticulture farmers. It said there have been disruptions in supply chains because of transportation problems and other issues. Farmers are unable to bring the produce to mandis. Those who have storage facilities have stored the produce while the rest have sold it at whatever prices they could get.
Even though prices declined for vegetables and other crops, consumers ended up paying more. The temporary closing down of restaurants and eateries also affected farmers badly.
“The future also looks bleak as the supply of agri-inputs for the upcoming kharif season – especially seeds may get affected by this lockdown. Unavailability of seeds and other agricultural input may lead to the delayed sowing or no sowing at all,” the report said.
Quoting the Ministry of Agriculture data, the report said wheat sowing was up by 12.3 per cent this year over last year, with most of increase in acreage coming from Maharashtra (89 per cent more), Gujarat (73 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (nearly 33 per cent) and Rajasthan (17 per cent). Skymet said it expected the national average yield to be 3.38 tonnes per hectare.
Similarly, there is 11.5 per cent increase in the area of gram cultivation which is on account higher acreages reported from Maharashtra (58 per cent more) and Rajasthan (42 per cent), which adequately compensated for the 20 per cent drop in gram area in Madhya Pradesh.
The area under mustard and rapeseed was more or less the same this year, even though Rajasthan and Haryana planted marginal more than last year, but there was a nearly 10 per cent drop in mustard cultivation in Madhya Pradesh, said the Skymet report.