The survey listed the major challenges faced by the farm sector, including low crop yields, soil degradation, phased shifting to direct transfer of fertilizer-food subsidies and market distortions that prevent creation of a national market.
    
"In the monsoons for 2014-15, there are concerns about the likely occurrence of the El Nino, when surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean continuously rise above average for several months which adversely affects weather in many regions. This is likely to have an impact on India's agriculture and consequently on food prices," the survey said.
    
However, it added that there appears to be ‘no cause for alarm on the El Nino impact’ as the country is well placed on foodgrains availability with record domestic production and huge stocks in the central pool.
    
The Met Department has projected below normal monsoon at 93 percent of the long period average. Till June, rainfall is deficient by 43 percent. As a result, sowing of kharif crops is also lower by 43 percent till July 4.
    
As the government blames hoarders for the recent spurt in food prices, the Finance Ministry's economic report card said that high cost of intermediation have a cascading effect on prices and suggested reforms like creation of national market.
    
The state APMC (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee) laws are a major hurdle to modernization of the food economy as they have artificially created cartels of buyers who possess market power, the Economic Survey said.

(Agencies)

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