New Delhi, Apr 11: After two years of deficient rainfall, Government on Monday said monsoon this year is expected to be normal and directed states to chalk out plans to boost crop acreage and production in kharif season starting June.
"El nino condition is declining. It is expected that La Nina condition will takeover, and will perhaps favour a good monsoon this year," Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Patnaik said addressing a national conference to launch kharif campaign for 2016-17.
Met Department's predictions will be out later this month, giving a clear picture of monsoon, he added. India's foodgrain production declined to 252.02 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from the record 265.04 million tonnes in the previous year, due to poor monsoon.
The output is estimated to rise slightly to 253.16 in the ongoing 2015-16 crop year due to 14 per cent less rains. Two consecutive bad monsoons have led to farm distress and water scarcity in the country.
The Secretary asked the state governments to make advance preparation for sowing of kharif (summer) crops like rice and pulses by making adequate availability of seeds, fertilisers, and other agri-inputs.
Less than normal rainfall in the last two years has left farmers and resources at stress. There is high moisture stress in soil, he added. Even the Economic Survey in February had said El Nino, which is held responsible for extreme weather events across the country last year, is unlikely to repeat this year.
However, it had suggested that the government should still be ready with the contingency plan to deal with any eventuality besides announcing in advance the MSP for crops like pulses.