The production of cereals in Maharashtra is expected to decline by 41 percent to 1.05 lakh tonnes from 1.81 lakh tonnes the previous year, Prachi Salve of data journalism service IndiaSpend.com says quoting the state’s Economic Survey.
The state’s agricultural growth is expected to decline by 2.7 percent in 2015-16 as rainfall was nearly 60 percent below normal for the second year in a row. The output of pulses will fall by 11 percent, the Survey says. Ten percent of Maharashtra’s gross state domestic product (GSDP) comes from agriculture.
From a national point of view Maharashtra does not rank among the top three producers of either rice or wheat. In cereals, it is the third largest producer of maize, which is mainly used by the poultry industry. Its share of the cereal in national production in 2014-15 was 9.3 percent, below that of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, according to India’s Economic Survey.
But Maharashtra is a significant producer of pulses with 10.1 percent of the country’s share in 2014-15, or the third largest.
Rainfall during the last monsoon season was deficient in 278 of the state’s 355 talukas (except Mumbai and its suburban district). It was normal in 75 talukas and in excess in two. During the 2015 kharif season (April to October), 141.46 lakh hectares were sowed ─ six percent less than the year-ago season. This has impacted sowing during the rabi season (October to March) as well. It is down by 16 percent over the previous year.
Maharashtra spends hugely on irrigation but has little to show for it.
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(Top photo: Unexpected rain last September after a prolonged no-show kindled farmers hope, as shown here in Beed, one of the worst-affected districts of Maharashtra. Credit: Vivian Fernandes)