India’s annual farm output is down this year, with fears of drought

The Economic Times of India reports on challenges facing India’s agricultural economy:

A drought this year could further impact India's agriculture. Image credit: prozac1 on freedigitalphotos.net

A drought this year could further impact India’s agriculture.
Image credit: prozac1 on freedigitalphotos.net

India’s farm sector shrank for the first time in five years in the year ended March 31, Farm Minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Wednesday, a day after the government forecast a likely drought this year that could hit output again.

India’s weather office cut this year’s monsoon forecast on an El Nino weather pattern that has raised fears of the first drought in six years.

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The monsoon rains are vital for the rural economy as three-fifth of India’s population of over 1.2 billion depend on farming for their livelihood.

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India’s economy, Asia’s third-largest, grew 7.5 percent year-on-year in the last quarter through March, outstripping China’s 7 percent growth in the same quarter.

But the farm sector posted two straight quarters of negative growth of 1.1 percent each to March.

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