PMEAC pegs 3.5% farm growth in FY'14 on normal monsoon

PMEAC pegs 3.5% farm growth in FY'14 on normal monsoon New Delhi: Agriculture and allied sector is expected to grow at a faster rate of 3.5 percent in 2013-14 fiscal if the country receives normal monsoon this year, the Prime Minister's economic advisory panel said on Tuesday.

The sector's growth pegged for this year is higher than 1.8 percent estimated for 2012-13 fiscal by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO). The estimate for 2012-13 is certain to be revised and it is likely that final growth number may not exceed 2 percent, it said.

"Under the circumstances, and in expectation of normal or mostly normal rainfall, we have projected the farm sector to grow by 3.5 percent (in 2013-14)," Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman C Rangarajan said in the Economic Review for 2012-13.

However, if 2013 monsoon turns out to be significantly below normal, even that may be harder to achieve, he said.

Monsoon rains are crucial for the farm sector, which contributes about 15 percent to the country's GDP, as only 40 percent of the total cultivable area is under irrigation.

Last week, Agriculture Minster Sharad Pawar had said that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) is expecting a normal monsoon in 2013. IMD's first monsoon forecast will be officially released on April 26.

According to the PMEAC, the growth estimated for 2013-14 fiscal is slightly lower than the average of the Eleventh Plan (2007-12) period and comparatively slightly lower base of 2012-13 should be achievable.

To boost farm sector growth, the PMEAC has suggested major reforms in agricultural marketing and supply chains.

"In order to meet the increased demand for perishable farm produce - vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat and fish - at a stable price that is rewarding to both the farmer and the consumer, the supply chain needs to be modernised and regulatory obstacles in the way cleared," it said.

PTI