The year 2017-18 was marked by good monsoon onset which had led to increased acreage in most of the kharif crops. The uncertainty of monsoon rains created doubts in the farming situation as it progressed. The plentiful of rains in the first two month of the monsoon season was followed by deficit precipitation in the final two months. The month wise quantum of rains in the country showed that it was 104 per cent of LPA in June, 102 per cent of LPA in July, 87 per cent of LPA in August, and 88 per cent of LPA in September. Apart from the quantity of the rains the distribution of it was also a point of concern. The region wise Seasonal rainfall over Northwest India, Central India, South Peninsula and Northeast (NE) India were recorded at 90 per cent, 94 per cent, 100 per cent and 96 per cent of respective LPAs. Around 59 per cent of India had received substantially less rainfall as compared to LPA. Around 235 out of 647 districts across the country faced the prospect of drought this year as the monsoon appears ended for a below-normal performance, with the season's deficit currently at 5 per cent of normal. Major states affected by this monsoon pattern were Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (West), Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
In our first estimate (First Kharif Crop Estimates for 2017-18 – 01st September 2017) we had broadly concluded that in the year 2017-18, the production of total cereal, pulses and oil seeds are expected to decline by 1.72 per cent, 9.51 per cent and 12.43 per cent over 2016-17. In the current assessment, the total cereals and pulses have marginally pushed in the positive region with an expected increase of 0.79 per cent and 11.91 per cent respectively while the scenario of oilseeds continues to remain in the negative territory and its gap has further widened to 19.84 per cent. Major reason for the significant change in the estimate has been the in-equitable distribution of monsoon, both in quantum and spread, the details of which is been given below.
The crop wise analysis reveals that in the group of cereals, the rice crop was least affected by the irregularity in monsoon as it is grown mostly in well irrigated areas. For the year 2017-18, rice production is expected to improve marginally by 2.53 per cent over last year and decline marginally by 0.14 per cent over last estimate. It is to be noted that the Basmati rice production is expected to fall decline by about 25 – 28 per cent but this short fall is being compensated by the increase in the Non-Basmati rice, keeping the overall rice production on track. Maize is expected to decline marginally by 8.72 per cent over last year. The decline in the sowing area in Karnataka & Telangana was the main cause for the decline in production. In the minor cereals, Small Millets, Ragi and Bajra production is expected to improve by 11.48 per cent, 3.28 per cent and 4.21 per cent respectively while Jowar is expected to decline by 8.72 per cent over last year.
The increased focus on pulses production by the central government is clearly visible in the major pulses growing states. This year the favourable monsoon at the time of sowing and substantial increase in MSP has resulted in increased area for pulses. Accordingly, the production of Urad, Tur and Kulthi are expected to increase by 16.47 per cent, 9.87 per cent and 29.68 per cent respectively over last year. Moong is the only pulse showing a marginal decline of 4.88 per cent over last year.
The oilseeds sector is been the worst hit crop section in the current kharif season. Occurrence of heavy rains in the initial sowing stages and moisture stressed situation in the later stages has led to significant decline in production. The decline in soybean production is expected to the tune of 26.42 per cent to 10.47 million MT against last year’s production of 14.22 million MT. Groundnut production is expected to stage a decline of 9.88 per cent over last year. Other oilseeds such as Castor, Sunflower and Sesame are also expected to decline by 9.64 per cent, 12.84 per cent and 8.50 per cent respectively.
In the cash crop section, cotton is been seriously affected fluctuating weather conditions. In the initial phase, the sowing was affected by heavy rains and flooding of fields and in the later stages the crop was seriously infected by the cotton ball worm which has resulted in 12.45 per cent lower production figures for cotton over last year.
Sugarcane is expected to increase marginally by 8.47 per cent on increased sowing and lastly Jute & Mesta is expected to decline marginally by 3.87 per cent amidst decking marketing prospects.
The table below shows the details of the final estimate for the 2017-18 Kharif crop: