Erratic rain to bring down food produce

  • Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 18, 2015 01:03 IST

Hit by unseasonal and poor rainfall, the production of rice and wheat, important constituents of your daily meal, is likely to fall by 31% and 35% respectively, states the economic survey of 2014-15.

While the rainfall in the state in 2014 was 70.2%, 226 of its 355 talukas recorded a rain deficit. The erratic pattern has affected 27% of the rabi and kharif crops, with the production of major crops is estimated to drop by 31%, from 145.74 metric tonnes to 100 lakh metric tonnes in the current fiscal.

The production of cereals, pulses and oilseeds, too, is likely to fall significantly, while sugarcane production may rise marginally, states the survey.

In 2013-14, there was a 7.7% rise in the agricultural gross state domestic product (GSDP) and its allied sectors, which has fallen drastically to an estimated negative (-) 8.5%.

According to the survey, the worst hit will be the oilseeds grown in the rabi and kharif seasons. The production of oilseeds in the kharif season is (-) 55%, while in rabi it is (-) 68%.

The survey also brings bad news for cotton-growers from Vidarbha, which has registered a large number of farmer suicides. It estimates the tentative cotton production will be 25% less at 6,608 thousand metric tonnes, from the 8,834 thousand metric tonnes.

Despite the rain deficit, the sugarcane production, the survey states, is expected to rise by 10%, from 76,901 thousand metric tonnes to 84,261 thousand metric tonnes.

The poor rain has also impacted finance in agriculture, with credit cooperative banks and small primary agricultural credit societies facing financial losses and outstanding loans. As of March 2014, 53.2% of the 21,185 societies are facing losses.

The Maharashtra state cooperative bank, which is the apex body at the state level, is facing outstanding loans of Rs10,731 crore.

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