Wheat production target fixed at 75.5 mt

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Sep 17 | Updated: Sep 18 2007, 05:32am hrs
Concerned over the possible impact of global warming, the government has fixed an achievable target of 75.5 million tonne for wheat production in coming winter.

Wheat production increased to 74.89 million tonne in the previous year with early sowing and considerable expansion of area under the crop. According to an official document, The rabi (winter) season gives us the opportunity to increase wheat production by way of increased area coverage and also productivity. Our main concern is for wheat which contributes over 73% of the total winter crop production.

Seed availability is another issue. At present, wheat seed production is around 456,800 tonne against a 687,500 tonne requirement. The targets for other winter crops have been also fixedrice at 13 mt, coarse cereals at 8.8 mt, pulses at 10 mt and oilseeds at 11.4 mt

A record wheat production of 76.37 million tonne (mt) achieved was in 1999-2000. Since the last five years wheat production fluctuated in the range of 65.76 mt and 74.89 mt. The sudden spurt in temperature before ripening had caused damage to the wheat crop in some years.

The total domestic consumption is 60 mt. The government wants to facilitate increase in output as the food industry is expanding its activity. In the current five-year plan period (2007-12) the government has set up a Rs 4,882.48-crore Food Security Mission (FSM) for increasing production of wheat, rice and pulses.

FSM allocation for wheat is Rs 1920.33 crore, for rice Rs 1722.27 crore and that for pulses Rs 1239.88 crore. The mission will be implemented in 305 identified districts in 16 states. For wheat, 138 districts have been identified in nine states. The FSM gives flexibility to states to evolve their own plans. The Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana has also been launched to incentivise the state governments to increase the share of agriculture in their state plans.