India eyes record food production 

#GS3 #Agriculture #Environment 

Target of 298.3 million tonnes of foodgrain set after normal monsoon forecast 

  • A record of food grain production of 298.3 million tonnes for 2020-21, higher than the 291.95 million tonnes estimated for 2019-20. 
  • Both rice and wheat production targets are minimally higher than the previous year.  
  • However, the focus is on driving the growth in pulses, coarse cereals and oilseeds. 

Normal rainfall 

  • The main kharif season crop is rice, and the Agriculture Ministry is targeting a harvest of 102.6 million tonnes, slightly higher than the last kharif season harvest of 101.95 million tonnes.  
  • However, it has lowered its rice production target for the next rabi season to 14.9 million tonnes. This means that the total rice production target for 2020-21 is 117.5 million tonnes, barely higher than the previous year's target of 117.47 million tonnes. 
  • Wheat production is also expected to remain steady, with a 2020-21 target of 106.5 million tonnes, in comparison to the previous year’s estimate of 106.21 million tonnes. 
  • The Agriculture Ministry hopes to ramp up production of coarse cereals this year, but admits that the challenge is how to create demand for nutricereals or millets. It is targeting a harvest of 48.7 million tonnes in comparison to the previous season’s 45.24 million tonnes. 
  • With regard to pulses, the target is 25.3 million tonnes compared to the previous season's estimates of 23 million tonnes, with the entire increase projected to come from the kharif season. 

Oilseeds major priority 

  • Oilseeds are a major priority, especially due to the disruption in edible oil imports caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  
  • The targeted harvest is 36.64 million tonnes, in comparison to the last season's estimates of 34.19 million tonnes.  
  • One challenge could be a shortfall in supply of soyabean seeds to the tune of 3.2 lakh quintals, due to unseasonal rains at the time of harvesting the seed crop. 
  • The Ministry has also created an action plan for oil palm plantation, given the disruptions in imports.  
  • It hopes to cover 31,500 hectares with about 45 lakh seedlings this year, with the bulk of the plantation in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. 
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