Agricultural growth in India declines for 2018-19 due to less rainfall

The wheat production of India in the year 2018-19 Rabi season is likely to be 99.12 million tonnes which is slightly less than last year as per the fourth advanced estimates. The overall food grain production is also likely to fall to 281.37 million tonne, due to rainfall bringing down the output. Last year, the figures were at 284.83 million tonne.

As per the second advance estimate for 2018-19, due to low Kharif and Rabi production, the overall agricultural GDP numbers have suffered. During the third quarter of 2018-19, i.e. (Oct-Dec), allied and agricultural activities had a growth at 2.7 percent, which 4.6 percent during last year's third quarter.

The entire 2018-19 growth in agriculture and allied activities were estimated to be 2.7 percent as compared to 5 percent last year. Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist at CARE Ratings has blamed low Monsoon and Post Monsoon rains for lesser post Kharif and Rabi production.

As per farm production number, India is likely to see lower rapeseed and gram crop during this Rabi season as Monsoon rainfall has almost been less than 9% than normal. Winter rains on the other hand, which is between October and December, and vital for Rabi harvest were 43 percent less than normal.

Rice production may see an increase as compared to last year with a record 115.6 million tonnes in 2018-19 as compared to 112.91 million tonnes last year. Coarse cereal production may fall to 42.64 million tonnes from 46.99 million tonnes last year. Pulse will also see lower output at 24.02 tonnes as compared to 25.23 million tonnes last year. Total oil seed production, among non food-grain crops, is likely to be 31.5 million tonnes as compared to the previous year figure of 31.3 million tonnes. Sugarcane output will also be higher from last year at 380.83 million tonnes. Cotton has been lower this year at 30.09 million bales (of 170 kg each), Just and Mesta will be at 10.07 million bales (of 180 kg each).

The country has been witnessing bumper food grain production of cotton, fruits, vegetables, oil-seeds and sugarcane during the past many years which has resulted in lowered prices being paid to farmers. The current farm produce numbers might bring some change to this however.

[ 02 March 2019]