According to the Department of Agriculture's second forecasts released on Tuesday, total food production is expected to reach an all-time high of almost 292 million tonnes in 2019-20, due to record rice and wheat production.
The production of several crops, including rice and legumes, was lower than planned in the Kharif or monsoon season. However, the frequency of the late monsoon rains resulted in cumulative rainfall that was 10% above the long-term average of the season.
This helped farmers rake rabi or winter harvests that were larger than expected in almost all crops.
The estimate for total food production of 291.95 million tons is thus more than six million tons higher than the 285.21 million tons produced in 2018-19.
Higher rice production
The Ministry of Agriculture expects rice production of 117.47 million tons, slightly more than the 116.48 million tons produced in the previous year. Wheat, which is only grown in the Rabi season, will see a significant increase in production this year, at 106.2 million tons, after 103.6 million tons in the period 2018-19.
Despite government efforts to promote millet and grain, production this year failed to meet targets. The estimate was 45.24 million tons.
Legume production was also estimated to be under 23 million tons, although it was still higher than last year's harvest. Most legumes are dry land crops that are grown on land without irrigation, and the delay in monsoons in many areas hit the kharif crops, although rabi production improved.
It was similar with oilseeds. Production was estimated at almost 342 million tons, higher than last year but still lower than the target for this year. Sugar cane is the only major crop with an estimated production of 3,538 million tons this year, well below the previous year's 4,054 million tons. An oversupply of sugar in recent years has led to a fall in prices and an increase in payment arrears from sugar factories to sugar cane growers.