December 28, 2011
India's agriculture sector posts record 2010-11 foodgrain yield
The agriculture sector of India did exceptionally well in 2011, producing a record food grain output of more than 240 million tonnes.
Farmers' very old demand for crop loans at a 4% rate of interest was met during the year, although with a rider that the facility would be available to only those farmers that pay their crop loans on time.
Further, helped by timely and abundant rains last year, the agriculture sector rebounded with a record harvest of 241.56 million tonnes of food grains in the 2010-11 crop year, with production of wheat, pulses and coarse cereals touching an all-time high.
In the 2009-10 crop year (July-June), food grains production fell by 16 million tonnes to 218 million tonnes due to a severe drought in 2009. Remarkable performance was seen in pulses and oilseeds production, on which the government has focused its efforts to make India self-sufficient and reduce dependence on imports.
India produced 18.09 million tonnes of pulses and 31.1 million tonnes of oilseeds during the year, an all-time high for both these essential items, also had a positive impact on imports, which declined by 6% in the case of vegetable oils, while inward shipments of pulses fell by over 20%. Sugarcane output also improved and as a result, sugar production exceeded domestic output after two years.
The country turned exporter of the sweetener this year, from a net importer in 2010. The bumper farm production was reflected in the growth numbers. The agriculture sector grew by a healthy 6.6% in the 2010-11 financial year compared to 0.4% in the previous year. Record food grains production, together with abundant stocks in FCI godowns, prompted the government to allow exports of wheat and non-basmati rice under Open General Licences (OGL) in September this year after a long gap.
Though wheat exports were banned in early 2007, overseas rice shipments were restricted in April, 2008, as part of the Centre's measures to curb high inflation, which has been hovering above the comfort zone.