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Farm output growth rate at 11-quarter low

Sanjeeb Mukherjee/New Delhi 01 Dec 12 | 12:26 AM

Poor rain during the initial part of this year’s southwest monsoon and its subsequent impact on kharif farm output has pulled down growth in agriculture and allied sectors in the second quarter to 1.2 per cent, a 11-quarter low, compared to 3.1 per cent in the corresponding period of 2011-12.

However, experts point to recovery in allied activities such as fishing and horticulture. Purely agriculture’s GDP numbers, too, might show some improvement because of the late revival of monsoon rain. “Overall agriculture numbers in the third quarter of this financial year might be lower but could also be shielded from a sharp decline because of improvement in horticulture and forestry," said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist, CARE Ratings.

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The first advance estimates of production of foodgrain, oilseeds and other commercial crops for 2012-13, released by the department of agriculture in September, show the output of rice, coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds are expected to decline 6.5 per cent, 18.4 per cent, 14.5 per cent and 9.6 per cent, respectively, during the kharif season of 2012-13, as compared to the kharif of 2011-12.

“Apart from production of kharif crops, the growth in agriculture, forestry and fishing estimates of GDP in Q2 are based on the anticipated production of fruits and vegetables, other crops, livestock products, forestry and fisheries," the official statement said.

Ramesh Chand, director of the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, said the fall in agriculture’s growth in the second quarter was anticipated, as kharif production was bad and farm output in the corresponding quarter of last year was good at 3.1 per cent. “This also shows that though southwest monsoon showed some signs of revival in the second half of the 2012 season, the damage was already done," he said.

He said farm growth might not decelerate further, as some improvement in production could be expected during the second advance estimate, expected to be released soon by the department.

“The southwest monsoon withdrew from India almost 10-15 days behind its usual withdrawal date, so it will have some impact on the final kharif harvest," another expert said.

According to the India Meteorological Department, after a slow start, the monsoon was near-normal. The late revival of rains pulled down the area under all kharif crops as compared to 2011, with coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds being the worst hit.

According to an assessment by the National Council of Applied Economic Research, the deficient monsoon in the early half of the season this year could have an adverse impact on the production of onions, potatoes, banana, pulses and edible oils.

Agriculture and allied sectors grew 2.9 per cent in the first quarter of this financial year, against 3.7 per cent in the corresponding period last year. The sector recorded a growth rate of 2.1 per cent in the first half, against 3.4 per cent in April-September of 2011-12.

The late revival of rains pulled down the area under all kharif crops as compared to 2011, with coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds being the worst hit.

According to an assessment by the National Council of Applied Economic Research, the deficient monsoon in the early half of the season this year could have an adverse impact on the production of onions, potatoes, banana, pulses and edible oils.

Agriculture and allied sectors grew 2.9 per cent in the first quarter of this financial year, against 3.7 per cent in the corresponding period last year. The sector recorded a growth rate of 2.1 per cent in the first half, against 3.4 per cent in April-September of 2011-12.

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