Cold weather in northern India will boost yields of winter-sown or rabi grains, oilseeds and pulses, increasing the country’s food output to a new high, although conditions are not very good for vegetables, agriculture commissioner SK Malhotra told ET.
Key grain-producing areas of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh received heavy showers last week, followed by a steep fall in day temperatures across the region. This created ideal conditions for crops, said officials. “This is the perfect condition for tillering of plants. Output in rabi is likely to wipe out kharif shortfall, if any. We are likely to touch last year’s overall production level combining rabi and kharif together,” said Malhotra.
In the previous season, India produced a record 116.42 million tonnes of rice and 102.19 million tonnes of wheat. Oilseeds production was pegged at 32.25 million tonnes while the pulses output was 23.40 million tonnes.
Malhotra, however, said that the low temperature is bad for vegetables crops.
“Vegetables are prone to frost bite and cold temperature. So, if this weather persists, brace for costlier vegetables this time,” he warned. The sowing is over across more than 90% area in rabi this season and there is late planting in some areas due to delayed kharif harvest.
“There were late rains in some parts of the country, especially in Maharashtra and Karnataka where sowing has been delayed a bit. But output in these areas, especially of pulses and oilseeds will be bumper due to right moisture content in the soil,” said Malhotra. The government’s first advance estimates of kharif this year show a slight drop in the harvest.