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PMEAC estimates 0.5% farm growth rate this year

Last Updated: Friday, August 17, 2012 - 15:35

New Delhi: Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Friday said poor monsoon is likely to pull down farm sector growth rate to 0.5 percent in the current financial year, a projection that is even lower than in 2009-10 when monsoon was the worst in 28 years.

The growth in the agriculture sector was one percent in 2009-10 when production had fallen by 16 million tonnes due to poor monsoon. As many as 338 districts were declared drought- affected in that year.

The farm sector had expanded at a rate of 2.8 percent in the last fiscal.

"Farm sector GDP is projected to grow at 0.5 percent in 2012-13 due to the impact of weak monsoon on agriculture," PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan said while releasing 'The Economic Outlook for 2012-13'.

Monsoon this year is deficient by 10 percent. As per the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast, August rainfall is likely to be normal but September rains may be low due to El Nino effects in the Pacific, the report said.

In north India, the rainfall in west and east Rajasthan and Punjab has been worse than that in 2009, while in Haryana it has been as bad. In south India, rainfall has been particularly poor in Karnataka, the report added.

Due to weak monsoon, the foodgrains output had fallen by 16 million tonnes in 2009 and "a similar pattern is expected this year", the report by the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) said. "Impact will be less severe than was the case in 2009," it added.

"It is certain that crop output would be hit on account of the weak monsoon, of which one and half month yet remains to be seen," Rangarajan said.

Extrapolating on the basis of the experience of 2009-10, the PMEAC said it has placed farm sector GDP growth at the same level as that in 2009-10 fiscal.

The large shortfall in precipitation covering such a substantial part of the country is bound to "negatively" impact crop output in the kharif (summer) season and perhaps to some extent in the rabi (winter) season as well, PMEAC said in its report.

Given that eastern India, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are faring much better this monsoon and much of central India is also okay, rice output in the kharif season may fall much less than it had in 2009-10, it said.

However, coarse cereals and pulses output may slip on account of deficient rainfall in Karnataka, Marathawada and Rajasthan, it added.

In cash crops, the PMEAC said very poor rains this year may impact cotton output and it remains to be seen to what extend the irrigation system in Gujarat will be able to hold up against this order of shortfall in precipitation.

The reservoir position is 19 percent below that of the average of the last 10 years. The most shortfalls are in the large storages in the Krishna and Godavari basins, it added.

In 2011-12, the country had produced a record foodgrains production of 257.4 million tonnes. Both rice and wheat production had touched a records at 104.3 million tonnes and 93.9 million tonnes, respectively.


First Published: Friday, August 17, 2012 - 15:35
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