Enthused by Met Department’s forecast of a normal monsoon, Agriculture Secretary SK Pattanayak today said the country’s foodgrain production may surpass this year’s record high of 277.49 million tonne(MT).Southwest monsoon is the lifeline of India’s agriculture as well as overall economy. Over 50 per cent of the country’s population is dependent on farming and about 15 per cent of the GDP comes from agriculture and allied sectors.Rains are crucial for farmers as more than 50 per cent of the cultivable farm area is unirrigated. “The normal monsoon will boost kharif sowing that will start from June. We expect foodgrain output to surpass this year’s record,” Pattanayak told PTI.There will be slight deficiency of monsoon rains in southern peninsular and north eastern parts for a month, but that would be recovered, he said.The normal monsoon forecast augurs well for agriculture and the overall economy, he added.The India Meteorological Department (IMD) today projected southwest monsoon to be 97 per cent of long period average (LPA), which is normal for the season.Pattanayak said monsoon rains would be deficient in southern interior parts of poll-bound Karnataka. However, reservoirs in the state are expected to be full as rains in southern peninsular are likely to be normal.For the ongoing 2017-18 crop year that will end in June, the agriculture ministry has pegged overall foodgrain output at 277.49 MT, as against 275.11 MT last year.

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Normal monsoon to help achieve fresh record in foodgrain production: Agriculture Secretary