Tomato, onion production affected by rains, but potato harvest grows

Mixed results to Centre’s emphasis on increasing output of staple TOP crops

The first advance estimates for horticulture crop production in 2020-21 show that the Centre’s emphasis on increasing the production of the staple TOP crops (tomato, onion, potato) has had mixed results. Tomato production fell this year, despite an increased crop area. Onion production increased marginally, while potato harvests were more substantive.

The Agriculture Ministry projected potato production at a record 53.11 million tonnes in 2020-21, as against 48.56 million tonnes in 2019-20, a 9.3% growth driven by an almost 10% increase in crop area.

An 11% increase in the onion sowing area, however, led to less than 1% growth in production, which is estimated at 26.29 million tonnes this year. Key producing States such as Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat saw major crop losses due to unseasonal rain, leading to severe spikes in onion rates, with the Centre facilitating imports to tame the soaring prices.

Unseasonal rainfall in Karnataka was also the main reason for the 5% dip in production of tomatoes to 20.15 million tonnes, despite a small 1.7% increase in crop area.

Overall, horticulture production is slated to rise 1.8%, with growth in fruits, vegetables and plantation crops, as well as aromatic and medicinal plants. However, the production of flowers and spices is expected to fall this year.

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