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The need for monitoring and analysis of emerging food scenarios is important for India both because of significant dependence of output on the monsoon rains and the fact that globally India is one of the major consumers of food crops influencing markets. Management of agriculture from a public policy perspective requires organisation of this information and analysis as inputs to policy making.

Against this backdrop the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Ministry of Agriculture, commissioned a 3-Year study to National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in 2011–12 to bridge this important gap in analytical inputs for understanding the emerging agricultural scenarios both in the short-term of one or two quarters and also in the medium to longer term.

Accordingly, the agricultural outlook and scenario analysis undertaken in this study refers to the main crop based food items: cereals (specifically rice, wheat, jowar, bajra, maize and overall coarse grains), pulses (gram, tur), selected fruits and vegetables (banana, potato, onion), sugarcane and edible oils (groundnut, rapeseed/mustard, soybean). In addition the analysis also covers milk, one livestock product. The three main outputs of the proposed work are:

(1) A Quarterly Agricultural Outlook Report that integrates the assessment of key indicators relating to agriculture with a focus on food sectors. The reports will include assessment of the current situation on inputs, output and market conditions and also forecasts of key indicators for the full year based on models developed for the purpose.

(2) A Semi-annual Agricultural Outlook and Scenario Analysis Report which provides a longer term perspective for the food sector. These reports will present an analysis of alternative scenarios of output and consumption for the food crops taking into account the available information and based on the suitable economic models that permit longer term projections.

(3) Monthly briefings on the prevailing agricultural conditions.