Revived monsoon to help kharif crops, says Pawar

Written by Commodities Bureau | Agencies | New Delhi, Jul 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2008, 05:50am hrs
The revival of the monsoon over peninsular India in the last few days could improve prospects of kharif crops, though a final estimate of the impact of delayed rains could only be made after full sowing is over, farm minister Sharad Pawar said. "By and large, rainfall has been satisfactory all over the country, barring the four states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, but recent reports indicate that rains have revived over some of these areas, which should be good for the crops," Pawar told reporters on the sidelines of a conference.

The weather office, which had forecast normal rains this year, said last week total rainfall since June was 2% below normal, although it had been uneven, being 26% above normal in the first three weeks of the monsoon, and deficient in the July 17-23 period. The June-September rains are vital for farm output and the overall economy, as they help to determine rural spending. Only 40% of India's cultivated land is irrigated. The rest is rain-fed.

Pawar also said that though rice planting has been higher on year till date, the government does not have any immediate plans to revoke the ban on non-basmati rice exports. Indian farmers planted rice on 17.01 million hectare between June 1 and July 25, up 19% from 14.31 million a year ago.

Separately, the minister said the government has no immediate plans to restrict cotton exports. Textile mills have been requesting the government to curb cotton exports.

On Tuesday, textile commissioner JN Singh had ruled out imposing any ban or quantitative restrictions on cotton exports to bring down the prices in the domestic market.