New Delhi: Agriculture growth is likely to be "moderate" in the current fiscal as prospects of both rabi and kharif crops have been affected by vagaries of monsoon, the Reserve Bank said on December 1. Agriculture and allied sectors had grown at 1.1 per cent in the 2014-15 fiscal, which was down from 3.7 per cent growth achieved in the previous fiscal.
"Overall, the current outlook for agricultural growth in 2015-16 appears moderate at best at this juncture," RBI said while announcing the 5th Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement of the current fiscal, 2015-16. The outlook for agriculture is subdued, in view of both rabi and kharif crops' prospects being hit by monsoon vagaries, it said.
According to RBI, the value-add in agriculture and allied activities picked up on the modest increase in kharif output and timely policy interventions to stem the effects of the deficient south-west monsoon. During the third quarter of this year, the north-east monsoon commenced on a listless note, but the subsequent cyclonic weather has improved precipitation and raised the probability of a normal monsoon as predicted by the Met Department, it said.
"Nevertheless, the exceptionally dry start to the season affected sowing in all major rabi crops, while the excessive rains that followed may have reduced the prospects of coffee and paddy," RBI noted.
As per government data, total area sown to rabi crops is lagging behind at 317.96 lakh hectare till November 27 of the ongoing rabi season that started from October, as compared with 372.61 lakh hectare in the year-ago period.
Sowing of major rabi crops -- wheat, pulses and oilseeds -- is trailing behind the last year's level, signaling likely fall in rabi output. Due to 15 per cent deficit in southwest monsoon rainfall, the government has pegged overall kharif foodgrains output to decline marginally to 124.05 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July-June) from 126.31 million tonnes in the year-ago period.
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