Food production may rise, says government

Written by Commodities Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 26 2008, 06:26am hrs
As the government focuses towards ensuring that the impact of global financial market turmoil has minimum impact on the Indian economy, there is good news coming from agriculture sector, which is the backbone of the economy. The countrys food production during 2008-09 is expected to rise significantly and is set to surpass last years production level, a senior agricultural ministry official said on Tuesday.

Kharif will be much better than the first (advance estimate) as of now, while rabi acreage would also surpass last years level, T Nand Kumar, secretary, agriculture ministry told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop organised by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.

Terming that rabi sowing is good, he said that besides some areas in Uttar Pradesh where crop was hit due to late harvest, the overall acreage would increase due to good prospects in Punjab and Haryana. The first advance estimate for 2008-09, released in September by ministry of agriculture, projected a decline in output of foodgrains, oilseeds, pulses, cotton, maize and coarse cereals, compared to the fourth advance estimate last year.

The countrys food production is estimated to be 115.35 million tonne during 2008-09. Now, it is expected that government may revise the food production outlook upward in the next advantage estimate. Nand Kumar also said that overall wheat acreage, which has witnessed a marginal fall so far, will be higher than last year. Oilseed acreage has gone up in Rajasthan due to moisture contents and good minimum support prices (MSP) last year, he said.

On the MSP for the rabi crops, he said that the issue is with cabinet and the government is expecting a nod from the Election Commission in view of state elections prior to taking a decision.

While the government usually announces MSP well before the sowing starts, it is yet to do so this year because of elections in six states, including the wheat-growing states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.