New Delhi: India will "definitely" see higher foodgrain output and overall growth in the agriculture sector in case the IMD prediction of a good monsoon "comes true", Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said Tuesday.
Due to two consecutive drought years, the country's agriculture growth remained at 1.2 percent in 2015-16, while it was negative at 0.25 percent in the previous fiscal.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast above normal south west monsoon rains for this year, which will boost planting of kharif crops like paddy from next month. IMD has also said arrival of monsoon will be delayed by a week.
"If IMD forecast comes true, I am confident that foodgrain output will definitely increase and overall agri-growth will also be higher," Singh said while briefing the media on NDA government's achievements during two years in power.
Good monsoon rains coupled with higher minimum support price (MSP) to be soon announced for kharif crops will encourage farmers and boost sowing operations, he said.
In order to boost production in pulses and oilseeds, Singh said, "We had increased MSP substantially last year. This time also, we will increase."
A final call on the Agriculture Ministry's proposal to hike MSP of pulses and other kharif crops for 2016-17 will be taken up in the Cabinet meeting soon.
Bullish on farm sector growth this year, NITI Aayog member and agriculture expert Ramesh Chand earlier in the day told PTI that "our agriculture growth will definitely be more than 6 per cent. IMD has forecast good monsoon".
He said a week's delay in arrival of monsoon will not impact kharif sowing as pre-monsoon showers have hit some states like Karnataka giving relief to drought-hit farmers.
In view of better monsoon forecast, the Agriculture Ministry is aiming to achieve a record 270.10 million tonnes of foodgrains production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June).
The country had last achieved a record output of 265.04 MT in 2013-14. However, the production in 2014-15 and 2015-16 fell to 252.02 MT and 253.23 MT due to drought in more than 10 states.