India has continued its impressive streak of growth in food grain production, marking an important milestone in the agriculture sector. Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Secretary Manoj Ahuja made the announcement while inaugurating the National Conference on Agriculture for the Rabi campaign 2023-24.
According to Manoj Ahuja, based on the third advance estimates for the year 2022-23, India’s foodgrain production is estimated to touch 3,305 lakh tonnes. This figure represents a staggering increase of 14.9 lakh tonnes over the previous year 2021-22. Significant records have been set in the production of rice, maize, gram, pulses, rapeseed and mustard, oilseeds and sugarcane. Notably, production of pulses and oilseeds reached an all-time high with estimates of 275 lakh tonnes and 410 lakh tonnes respectively for 2022-23.
Secretary (DA&FW) highlighted that in the last eight years, India’s total food production has increased by 31%, from 251.54 million tonnes to 330.54 million tonnes. This upward trend has been reflected in the production of oilseeds and pulses, which has boosted the country’s agricultural sector.
Additionally, India’s agricultural exports, including marine and plantation products, have crossed USD 53.145 billion for the year 2022-23, reaching an all-time high. This significant achievement in the last two years is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to improve farmers’ incomes and the country’s agricultural potential.
Collaboration with state governments is essential to ensure delivery of critical information and promote adoption of innovative technologies to increase crop production and productivity. The government’s priority lies in agro-ecological crop planning, with the need to shift from surplus commodities such as rice and wheat to deficit commodities such as oilseeds and pulses as well as high-value export earning crops. Emphasis is placed on
The agenda for crop diversification and self-sufficiency in pulses and oilseeds was set during the first National Conference of Chief Secretaries in Dharamsala under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ongoing conference seeks to further these goals.
Sorghum played a prominent role during India’s G20 presidency, featuring in gift hampers, exhibits, and food during the International Year of Sorghum (IYM) 2023. Spouse visit of G20 leaders to Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) campus in PUSA on September 9, 2023 showcased sorghum launch, farmers and live cooking demonstrations.
India has set national targets for total foodgrain production in 2023-24, aiming to reach 3,320 lakh tonnes, with the rabi season contributing 1,612 lakh tonnes. Additionally, the share of rabi crops in pulses is targeted at 181 out of 292 lakh tonnes and 145 out of 44 million tonnes for oilseeds. Strategies include increasing cultivation through intercropping and crop diversification, increasing productivity through the introduction of high-yielding varieties, and adopting appropriate agricultural practices in low-yielding regions.
The last three years have seen a remarkable increase of 37% in mustard production, from 91.24 lakh tonnes to 124.94 lakh tonnes, with a 7% increase in productivity from 1331 to 1419 kg/ha. . The area under rapeseed and mustard cultivation has also increased by 28 per cent, from 68.56 lakh hectares in 2019-20 to 88.06 lakh hectares in 2022-23. This success can be attributed to the combined efforts of the farming community and state governments and is helping to overcome the challenges in importing palm and sunflower oil.
Various technical and input related issues for Rabi season were discussed in detail during the conference. Fertilizer Secretary Rajat Kumar Mishra emphasized the importance of timely supply of fertilizer and shared the steps taken by the Fertilizer Department to ensure this. Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary (DARE) and DG, ICAR, presented a global perspective on climate change and adaptation strategies, highlighting the need to adopt climate resilient practices. The NICRA team shared India’s experiences in dealing with climate change and identified climate resilient technologies for different agro-ecological regions.
The conference also addressed concerns about significant productivity gaps in crop production with improved technologies. Ms. Shobha Thakur, JS (Crops and Oilseeds) presented a vision for the next five years, aiming to make India self-sufficient in pulses and oilseeds. The vision includes achieving a target of 325.47 lakh tonnes of pulses by 2025 and special projects such as inter-cropping, targeting rice crops, and increasing cultivation in high-potential districts and non-traditional regions. These efforts are expected to increase annual edible oil production from 362 to 541 lakh tonnes and edible oil production from 85 to 136 lakh tonnes by the end of 2025-26. This renewed focus aims to reduce import dependency from 56% to 36% over the next five years.
The National Conference saw the active participation of the Additional Secretary (Agriculture) and senior officers of DA&FW, ICAR, and various state governments, reaffirming India’s commitment to sustainable agricultural development and self-sufficiency in essential commodities.
First Published: 26 Sep 2023, 21:47 IST