State’s foodgrain production dips by 8%

Gujarat seems to be growing more tobacco and cotton than foodgrains. The state's foodgrain production decreased by 8 lakh tonnes in 2011-12 and it is set to drop further, according to the latest Socio-Economic Review.

The state produced around 92.57 lakh tonnes of foodgrains during 2011-12, which is about 8 per cent less than 100.71 lakh tonnes in 2010-11, states the Socio-Economic Review (2012-13) presented in the Assembly on in the ongoing budget session.

The worst-hit is wheat whose production has declined by almost 19 per cent. Bajra production declined by 7.4% during 2011-12.

The area under foodgrains in Gujarat also decreased by 1,70,000 hectares during 2011-12. The acreage of all the major food crops like wheat jowar and bajra registered a decline. "In contrast, the area under cotton and tobacco increased," stated the review published by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Gujarat.

"The decrease in the area under foodgrains appears to be a factor in the decrease in the production of foodgrains in the state," the review added.

A V Barad, the dean of College of Agriculture at Junagadh Agricultural University, says, "Water scarcity and erratic climatic patterns are affecting the wheat crop. Moreover, farmers tend to opt for crops like cotton, which is more remunerative than food crops."

Faced with an erratic monsoon, the foodgrain production estimates for 2012-13 does not look rosy either. "As per the second advance estimates for the year 2012-13, the production of total foodgrains is estimated at 71.56 lakh tonnes," the review adds.

The trend in foodgrain production in Gujarat has been erratic. In 2010-11, the foodgrain production (100.71 lakh) tonnes had grown by 80% over the previous year mainly because the area under wheat crop almost doubled during the same period.

The production of cotton recorded an all-time high during 2011-12, registering an increase of over 5.5 lakh bales to reach 103.75 lakh bales.

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