25 February 1999
Indian farming starts slow recovery

INDIAN crop production is on a slow path to recovery following disappointing harvests in 1997 and 1998 when grain production dropped by about 5% to 192.4 million tonnes.

The countrys production of rice, wheat cereals and pulses, is forecast to rise by 1.4% this year to reach 195.2m tonnes, according to the finance ministrys annual economic survey.

The survey says total agricultural output should see 5.3% growth after a fall of 1% in 1997-98.

But the survey expresses “grave concern” about the declining growth trend for India food grain production, reports the Financial Times.

Since the 1980s, when annual growth rates averaged 3.5%, growth rates have retreated to 1.7% on average in the current decade.

The survey says India has reached the limit of extending land under cultivation.